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ISL 2022-23 Final: Tactics and temperament to be put to the test as ATK Mohun Bagan takes on Bengaluru FC

ISL 2022-23 Final is set to take place on Saturday at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Margao, Goa, as ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC collide for the title, while tactics and temperament will be put to the test.

football Indian Super League 2022-23 Final, ATKMB vs BFC prevew: Tactics and temperament to be put to the test as ATK Mohun Bagan takes on Bengaluru FC-ayh
First Published Mar 17, 2023, 7:05 PM IST

An exhilarating 2022-23 Indian Super League (ISL) season will crown its champion as ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) takes on former champion Bengaluru FC (BFC) for the silverware at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Margao, Goa, on Saturday. A win for the Mariners can hand them their maiden ISL title, while the Blues could lift their second one, having last done so in the 2018-19 season. Atletico Kolkata (ATK), before Mohun Bagan was bought over, had won twin ISL titles.

ATKMB have been unbeaten in five games leading up to the final, where they have only conceded once in those five games while keeping four clean sheets. The club's defensive prowess has been evident since the league phase. They conceded just 17 goals all season, making them statistically the second-best defensive team in the league after defending champion Hyderabad FC (HFC).


A solid defensive backline with Pritam Kotal and Brendan Hamill enabled the Mariners to achieve this feat. However, in the last four games, Slavko Damjanovic has replaced Hamill at the heart of the defence, as ATKMB has kept clean sheets in all those games. Asish Rai has been a threat down the right flank.

In attack, the only player that head coach Juan Ferrando could be without is Ashique Kuruniyan, but the ATKMB head coach is optimistic about him playing. He will be assessed in training before the final against his former club. "In the last few games, they [BFC] have been excellent and have played confidently. On the field, they look like a good team. It will be imperative to control this game from the start. The focus, as always, is on our team, and we have faith in our plan," said Juan Ferrando.


Despite beating League Shield winner Mumbai City (MCFC) on penalties in the semi-final, BFC suffered its first regulation-time defeat of the year in the second leg. The Blues were on a 10-game winning run before the Islanders restored parity and eventually lost on penalties. Head coach Simon Grayson has used Sunil Chhetri as an impact substitute, and in the last five games, the 38-year-old Indian skipper has come on to score vital goals on three occasions.

Grayson will likely field an unchanged XI in the final with Chhetri on the bench, while Roy Krishna and talented Sivasakthi Narayanan - who assisted their only goal last game - could start. "Leaving someone of his quality, experience, and professionalism out is a callous decision. But, as a coach, regardless if it's Sunil Chhetri or Rohit Kumar, I have to make what I think is the right decision," said Grayson.

ALSO READ: Ahead of ISL 2022-23 final, Stimac states Bengaluru FC's Sunil Chhetri may be playing his last season

"[ATKMB] are defensively very solid. They have some excellent defenders and good competition for places. We will respect the opposition, but they'll know our team has some decent players. Hopefully, when we're talking after the game, it will have been a great advert for the ISL and Indian football," he added.

In six ISL matches in the past, BFC has only beaten ATKMB once, and that came when the two sides last met at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (Saltlake Stadium) in Kolkata last month. The Mariners have beaten the Blues four times.

(With inputs from PTI)

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