Two of the most consistent sides so far in the 2020-21 season of Indian Super League (ISL) – Mumbai City FC and ATK Mohun Bagan – set up a clash for a place on the top of the current standings, at the Fatorda Stadium on Monday.
As the tournament approaches the half-way stage, the top sides of the league would like to seize the initiative before the second half of the season.
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The current leader Mumbai City FC has scored 16 goals so far and also proved to have the best goal scoring ability with a goal conversion rate of 15.84%. It has scored continuously in the last eight games. This makes the clash interesting as Mohun Bagan has a very good defence having maintained seven clean sheets in nine games. What makes it more important is the fact that Mohun Bagan is yet to concede a goal from open play this season.
The ATK Mohun Bagan coach Antonio Lopez Habas did not wish to follow the indications offered by statistics. “I don't think that Mumbai is a team that only attacks. They are good in progressional play as well as in counter-attacks. It is very difficult to stop their team because they always play forward but I don't think it is just a match between attacking and defending because football is all about it,”Habas said.
“The importance of a match depends on the moment. At present it is a match between the first and second teams. Maybe two or three weeks later, the match may not have the same importance but the idea presently is to play with all intensity,” Habas added.
Making a switchover from a successful side like FC Goa, the Mumbai City FC coach Sergio Lobera has kept his team unbeaten following a defeat in the opening round. But Lobera preferred to treat the match as a mid-season clash and did not wish to attach any more importance.
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“I think it is going to be important but not a crucial game. It is just halfway and in this competition anything is possible. Anything can change in short time in the league . Most important thing is now to keep our focus and improve our game,” said Lobera, whose team is currently leading the current standings with 22 points from nine mathes.
Mohun Bagan is just behind with 20 points gained from its nine outings. Though there are no injury concerns for the Spaniard, he will miss the services of Ahmed Jahouh, who received his second red card of the season.