ISL 2020-21 preview: ATKMB aims to seal top spot, HFC keen to make playoffs

Hyderbabad FC will square off against ATK Mohun Bagan in match 103 of the 2020-21 Indian Super League at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco da Gama, Goa.

Fourth-placed Hyderabad FC (L) will be looking to confirm its playoff spot as it takes on table-topper ATK Mohun Bagan in ISL 2020-21 on Monday (File Photo).   -  ISL / Sportzpics

ATK Mohun Bagan would be looking to make its debut season memorable by claiming the necessary points to secure the ISL League Winners' Shield when it takes on Hyderabad FC at the Tilak Maidan in a 2020-21 Indian Super League fixture on Monday.

Hyderabad, the team from the city of Nizams, has also surprised all the doubters this season by making the top-four in the current standings. This increases the prospects of an interesting contest between the two sides.

Propelled by five successive wins, ATKMB is theoretically a couple of points away from sealing the top spot and a 2022 AFC Champions League entry. Mumbai City FC is five points behind the Mariners with just two games to go.

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HFC is placed fourth with 27 points from 18 matches. It needs a win to keep itself in contention for a playoff place. What would be charging up the side is the fact that it has not suffered a defeat since the start of the year and is unbeaten in the last 10 games.

Hyderabad, which owes much of its success to the managerial skills of its Spanish head coach Manolo Marquez, will have to invoke the right motivation to get the better of one of the sharpest attacks and strongest defences in the tournament.

Mohun Bagan has scored 13 goals in its last five outings, while conceding only five times. The livewire in its forward line is Roy Krishna, the Fijian striker who is the leading goal-scorer of the ongoing edition, with 14 goals to his name.

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“We play against the strongest team in the league. Mohun Bagan are in the best form in the league. They have a very compact team and have very good players for the style Antonio Habas wants to play in this moment. With Lenny Rodrigues and Marcelinho, the team is more decisive,” Marquez said.

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“For me, Krishna is the best forward in the league. He can score in multiple ways. He is not tall but is clever. He is fast and knows in which moment he has to run. He is a complete centre forward,” he added.

Going by the statistics, the second half of the contest could well be the most absorbing. ATKMB has scored 21 out of its 26 goals in the second half -- which is the highest any side in the league. Hyderabad comes just behind, having scored 20 of its 25 goals in the final 45 minutes.

Mohun Bagan boss Habas lauded his compatriot Marquez for his impressive work at Hyderabad FC this season.

“Hyderabad have had a good season and we have to be confident against them. They have a good balance between their attack and defence. They have surprised everyone in the competition this season," he claimed.

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