ATK Mohun Bagan is set to face NorthEast United FC in the 89th match of the Indian Super League 2021-22. The Mariners will be hosting the highlanders at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, Goa in a very significant encounter for the hosts.
The green and maroon brigade is now sitting at 4th place with 23 points but has played fewer matches as compared to point table neighbours. Whereas, the highlanders find themselves at the exact bottom with no hopes for qualification to the knock-out stage. Here are the five things to expect from the match.
Kiyan Nassiri could start
Kiyan Nassiri could get his much-awaited first start of the season against NorthEast United FC due to a large number of injury-stricken players in the regular starting lineup of ATK Mohun Bagan. The green and maroon derby star came to the limelight after banging an amazing hattrick against arch-rival SC East Bengal after coming as a sub and helping his side win the high profile "derby match".
After that, the Mariners are longing to see the player get more game time. Till now, Kiyan has made a lot of brief appearances in the league but coming on as a sub in every instance. So, the NEUFC match can be the first time where East Bengal legend Jamshid Nassiri's son gets to start in the league.
Deshorn Brown may start
Deshorn Brown has been an integral part of NorthEast United FC this whole season and arguably his absence due to injury may be the core reason why the Highlanders are at the exact bottom of the table. Brown has scored 6 goals so far and assisted 1 time in 8 matches before being ruled out due to an injury.
However, a joy to NEUFC fans as the Jamaican is back from his injury and could start against ATKMB tomorrow. In the previous match, Brown came on as a sub at the 80th minute against KBFC in a 1-2 defeat hinting he may be fully fit to start the match against ATKMB. The inclusion of Brown will provide an extra boost to the highlanders as they may seek to capitalize on his pace and prolific finishing techniques.
Sandesh Jhingan's second debut
Sandesh Jhingan joined ATK Mohun Bagan on a lucrative 5 year deal in the 2020-21 season and played a crucial role in taking the team to the final of that season. In January, the Indian international moved to HNK Sibenik to play in the Croatian top division. Jhingan again joined ATKMB on loan in the January transfer window to play the remainder of the season.
However, the experienced central defender is yet to make his second debut for the Mariners. He was part of the substitute bench for the last three games but wasn't used even for a minute. Against NEUFC, Coach Juan Ferrando could start Jhingan and pair him with Tiri at the central defence to form a near imperishable fort at the back.
ATKMB's fearsome wingers
ATK Mohun Bagan has been very impressive when it comes to wing play throughout the whole season. Liston Colaco is in dream form and arguably the best Indian footballer in Indian Super League at the present having bagged 6 goals and 1 assist in 13 matches. On the other side, Manvir Singh has struggled a bit lately but having scored in the previous match will surely provide him with extra confidence and determination.
Once again it will be Liston and Manvir through both the wings which may cause huge trouble for NEUFC fullbacks. With good wing play from both sides, ATKMB will be looking to capitalize against NEUFC with the help of their extremely talented wingers.
An important match for the semifinal race
Having lost 10 out of 16 games played this season, NorthEast United FC is well out of the semifinal race. But that doesn't mean the highlanders will go down without a fight. Khalid Jamil may field an attacking trio of Marcelinho, Brown, and VP Suhair which is bound to test the mettle of ATKMB defence.
On the other hand, It is a must-win match for ATKMB if they want to grab the top position in the points table and open a path for themselves to participate in the AFC Champions League. Having played only 13 matches so far, the Mariners have 23 points to their name and are on a 9 game unbeaten run. A win will make them the joint leader of the table with one match in hand.
The Indian Super League encounter between ATK Mohun Bagan and NorthEast United FC will be live on the Star Sports network. It can also be live-streamed on Disney + Hotstar and Jio TV.