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ISL Final preview: Can Mumbai City FC crush Mohun Bagan's treble dreams?

With the Mariners eyeing a potential treble, could the Islanders thwart their dreams in a bid for revenge following their defeat in the league shield game?

ISL Final preview: Can Mumbai City FC crush Mohun Bagans treble dreams?

The ISL trophy 


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 4 May 2024 3:32 AM GMT

As the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 season draws to a close, excitement builds for the match between rivals Mohun Bagan Super Giant and Mumbai City FC at Kolkata's Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday, May 4th, at 7:30 pm IST. This marks Kolkata's inaugural hosting of an ISL final, igniting fervor in the City of Joy.

This encounter echoes a previous 'final' on April 15th at the same venue, where the Mariners narrowly defeated the Islanders 2-1, seizing the ISL title from Mumbai City FC. This reversal of fortune recalls the 2020-21 season, when Mumbai City FC triumphed over the Mariners 2-1 in the ISL final, leaving coach Habas on the opposite end of the outcome.

The number game

Mumbai City FC boasts an impressive 67% win rate and has consistently found the back of the net in all nine of their encounters with Mohun Bagan Super Giant. Notably, they excel in the second half, leading the league with 28 goals scored during this period, contrasting with the Mariners' tendency to strike early, with 25 first-half goals this season.

Mohun Bagan Super Giant staged a remarkable comeback in the latter part of the season, propelling themselves towards the ISL Championship with 48 points in the league stage, just ahead of the Islanders' 47. They netted 47 goals across 22 matches, compared to Mumbai City FC's 42. The home team boasts a potent attacking lineup including Jason Cummings, Dimitrios Petratos, Manvir Singh, and Liston Colaco. With an anticipated crowd of 60,000 supporters, they aim to deliver their best performance tomorrow, backed by the fervent support of their fans.

Gaffers speak

Mohun Bagan's head coach, Antonio Habas, downplays the notion of 'revenge' in football. “There is no question of revenge for me. It’s one more game of football. We are playing against a very good opponent. I am very happy and excited for the final and we have to compete well to win the trophy. We have played finals in different places. But this is special, to play a final at our home in front of our own supporters," he said.

Despite having a huge fan backing at the home ground, Habas is cautious about the game. “There are no favourites for the final; neither do I want to be the favourite for the final. One move from the first minute to the last one can change the trajectory of the match. We have to be concentrated. In the final, there is no point in choosing one favourite. But, our team have the supporters on the stands and that will have a huge impact on the players playing on the field. We are stronger than last season. Mumbai City FC, too, have grown a lot in this period. With good players, you need a good organisation as well to succeed. You need strong commitment from the players on the field, on that given day,” he said.

In the title-deciding clash that concluded the league stages of ISL 2023-24 in April, the Mariners nearly dominated Mumbai City FC. Their 2-1 victory showcased their commanding performance, disrupting the Islanders' seemingly flawless form with their aggressive pace and unwavering commitment to their own brand of football.

Mumbai City FC's head coach, Petr Kratky, undoubtedly gleaned valuable insights from that defeat and is determined to make necessary adjustments come Saturday. “I don’t think it’s going to be a pressure for us. Our players are all used to playing in front of full stadiums. In fact, it gives us extra motivation to do well, because that's why we play football. We work hard for that. We can’t wait to play football, play it our way, and if we focus on winning the game, everyone will enjoy it. I don’t think there’s extra pressure here, if anything, we are going to enjoy the moment. The support of our travelling supporters is going to be very important. We love them. We play for them and we want to hear them. Keep cheering for us, but we will be hearing them. Even though they are outnumbered, we know they are there to support us and we will do our best for them,” Kratky remarked.

Where to watch

The Indian Super League season 10 final will be telecasted live on Sports18 and the fans can also catch the game for free in the Jio Cinema app and website.

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