ATK Mohun Bagan will be eager to pull five points clear of the final spot in the playoffs battle with a positive result against Jamshedpur FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur on Thursday.
Both sides have been inconsistent with results picking up seven points in their last five games.
Jamshedpur FC is not in the reckoning for the playoffs this season now, but will be looking at learnings to build on for the next season. The Red Miners are expected to use every arrow in its quiver in this match, which will be its final home game of the season.
At home, Jamshedpur FC has only won one game this season. Both its recent victories have come away from home. However, it has managed to pick up points against FC Goa and Chennaiyin FC at home and its morale will be high as Aidy Boothroyd’s men come into the fixture after a 2-0 win against NorthEast United FC in their last game.
Ritwik Das is in fine form for the Red Miners and was on the scoresheet in the last game with Daniel Chukwu, who also scored his fourth goal of the campaign. Das has scored four goals this season, and all four have come in the last five games.
“We have enjoyed the days after the win in NorthEast but quickly switched our focus to the next game against ATK [Mohun Bagan],” said Boothroyd. “We put in one of our best performances of the season when we played them last and have played really well since then. Overall, I am very pleased with the turnaround and how we are playing now,” he added.
ATK Mohun Bagan has an opportunity inch closer to sealing playoff qualification by leapfrogging FC Goa and moving into fourth place with a win. Its away form has been a concern as a win against Jamshedpur FC would be only its third win away this season.
Last week, Juan Ferrando’s men suffered a setback in their own backyard when Bengaluru FC scored twice in the final quarter of the game and kept ATK Mohun Bagan away from third place. In their last five away games, the Mariners have only won once - a record they will be desperate to improve before their next trip to Hyderabad FC.
Hugo Boumous and Ashique Kuruniyan served their respective suspensions in the last game and will be available for the Jamshedpur FC game. Those are the only two changes Ferrando is likely to opt for as the playoff qualification pursuit continues.
“Our target is always to win. In the final days of the league stage, our mentality is still the same - to get the three points and to carry that form into the final four matches,” said Ferrando.
“In the last match, our plan worked in the first half. Every match is different, but Jamshedpur and Bengaluru have more or less the same mentality. For us, making the best decisions in every moment is important,” he added.
The two sides share an almost evenly balanced head-to-head history in the ISL. The Red Miners have won thrice in five encounters, while the Mariners have emerged victorious twice.