ATK Mohun Bagan vs Hyderabad: Preview and Prediction
Both teams will be starting with a clean slate in this match, as the first leg ended in a goalless stalemate. Hyderabad finished second in the regular season, where they won 13 of their 20 games and amassed 42 points in their account.
On the other hand, ATK Mohun Bagan finished a place behind the Nizams with 10 wins in 20 games and 34 points. The Mariners then had to play against Odisha in the knockout fixture, where they secured a 2-0 win.
Defending champions Hyderabad had a stunning start to their season as they were unbeaten in their first six matches. A couple of defeats against Kerala Blasters and ATK Mohun Bagan derailed them, but they then were unbeaten in the next eight matches.
The Nizams were in the hunt for the League Winners’ Shield for most of the regular league season, but two wins in their last four matches against Odisha and Jamshedpur meant that they had to settle for the second position.
Unlike their opponents, ATK Mohun Bagan had a rocky start to their season as they won only three of their first six matches, but they made up for it with consecutive wins against Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Jamshedpur.
The Mariners then had an unexpectedly poor run of form as they won only two of their next nine matches while losing four of those games. But wins over Kerala Blasters and East Bengal in their last two league matches helped them qualify for the next round, where they defeated Odisha 2-0 before playing out a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the semi-final.
Head to Head Record
The head-to-head records are slightly inclined in favour of ATK Mohun Bagan. The Mariners have won three of the nine league meetings against Hyderabad, with the Nizams winning two matches. The other four matches ended in draws.
One such draw was played out when the teams met at the GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium on Thursday. It was an evenly contested game with both teams having quite a few opportunities, but neither goalkeeper could be beaten.
ATK Mohun Bagan players were not seen at their best in the last game, and as a result, Juan Ferrando could make a few tweaks to his team. Most notably, Puitea looked a bit shaky in the midfield and he could be replaced by Lalrinliana Hnamte.
Besides that, Ashique Kuruniyan would have been an automatic choice in the team had he been fit, but he recently suffered an injury and might not make the cut. Hence, the attacking quartet of Manvir Singh, Hugo Boumous, Liston Colaco, and Dimitri Petratos is likely to remain unaltered.
Similarly, Manolo Marquez is also expected to make changes to his starting XI. Sahil Tavora was not very effective in the midfield in the first-leg tie, so he could make way for Hitesh Sharma.
Besides that, Roca started Javi Siverio in the last game at the expense of his team’s trump card, Bartholomew Ogbeche, but the move backfired as the Spanish youngster did not look too convincing. Understandably, the Nigerian striker is expected to start in this fixture.
ATK Mohun Bagan (4-2-3-1): Vishal Kaith; Asish Rai, Pritam Kotal, Slavko Damjanovic, Subhasish Bose; Lalrinliana Hnamte, Carl McHugh; Manvir Singh, Hugo Boumous, Liston Colaco; Dimitri Petratos.
Hyderabad (4-2-3-1): Gurmeet Singh; Nikhil Poojary, Chinglensana Singh, Odei Onaindia, Akash Mishra; Hitesh Sharma, Borja Herrera; Mohammad Yasir, Joel Chianese, Halicharan Narzary; Bartholomew Ogbeche.
The head-to-head records favour ATK Mohun Bagan, while they will also have loyal home support here in Kolkata rallying behind the team. Hence, we have predicted the Mariners to win this match and qualify for the final.