ISL 2022-23: Fireworks on the cards as heavyweights ATK Mohun Bagan face the might of Mumbai City FC
The stage is set for a colossal clash between two giants of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 as ATK Mohun Bagan take on Mumbai City FC on Saturday.
At the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday, two of the biggest teams in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23, ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City FC, will square off.
With a victory, the Islanders' lead over Hyderabad FC will grow to four points. On the other side, the Mariners may climb into third position if they defeat Mumbai City FC and win for the first time ever.
This will be ATK Mohun Bagan's first encounter in the New Year, as Juan Ferrando's side was on a break during the last Matchweek after the Mariners ended 2022 on a high with a 2-1 win over FC Goa.
The two top scorers of the club, Dimitri Petratos and Hugo Boumous, found the back of the net against the Gaurs. In addition, ATK Mohun Bagan has strengthened their squad with the additions of midfielders Federico Gallego and Puitea.
In the Mariners' midfield, Carl McHugh has excelled and done an excellent job of stepping in for the injured Joni Kauko. Earlier this season, when the two teams faced off, McHugh scored in the 89th minute to give ATK Mohun Bagan a point.
"The plan for us is always the same. We try to keep the ball, play attacking football and get three points. Sometimes it works, other times, it does not. But our mentality is always the same," said Ferrando. "The performance of Mumbai throughout the season so far has been very good. It is necessary for us to play against them on the same level that they are on," he added.
Mumbai City FC is on a mission to break records or add to existing ones. The Islanders' emphatic 4-0 victory over Kerala Blasters FC last week helped them kick off the new year in style.
Mumbai City FC's victory marked their eighth straight victory, breaking the previous mark for the most consecutive victories in the Hero ISL. With a new club record of a 13-game winning run, the Islanders have established themselves as unbeatables this season.
Jorge Diaz, who had a brace and an assist the previous week, won't be available for the head coach Des Buckingham as the striker serves a ban for amassing too many yellow cards. Greg Stewart, the team's talisman, was forced to leave the game against the Blasters in the first half due to an injury, but he will probably play as a striker with Alberto Noguera moving into the middle of the field.
“I’m happy with the way we have played so far this season. We have put ourselves in a good position, but the most important thing is that we have to keep getting better game-by-game,” said Buckingham. “As long as we keep trying to do that, I’ll be happy going into the next game. We have done as much as possible to prepare ourselves for this tough test against ATK Mohun Bagan. But it is one we are ready for and looking forward to,” he added.
The two sides have locked horns six times in Hero ISL history. The Islanders have won four games, while the other two have ended in draws. One of the draws came earlier this season when the Mariners held Mumbai City FC to a 2-2 draw at the Mumbai Football Arena.