ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC lock horns in their AFC Cup Group D South Zone game at the National Football Stadium.
Published: August 18, 2021 17:40 |
Last updated: August 18, 2021 5:41 PM
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MALE: ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC will meet here later on Wednesday in their AFC Cup Group D game in the South Zone at the National Football Stadium. The last time these two teams played against each other was in February during the Indian Super League. ATKMB had a 2-0 victory at that time. While this is the first time both teams have competed in the AFC Cup, the familiarity between the teams is undeniable as both practice their craft in the ISL.
Here’s a look at some of the players from both camps that could make a difference:
Roy Krishna: Probably the most reliable name from the ATK Mohun Bagan camp. Last season he scored 14 goals and provided eight assists and it was a shame the Mariners couldn’t claim the League Shield or the prestigious trophy. The AFC Cup is a great opportunity for him to allay the disappointment he and his team experienced last season. He’s an absolute goal machine and Bengaluru FC’s new defenders Yrondu Musavu-King and Alan Costa need to play their game at their best to keep him under control.
David Williams: The Australian striker came in a little late Camp in Calcutta – a few days before he left for the Maldives – but if the reports are to be believed, he has looked good in training so far. In March of this year he was “Hero of the Month” after scoring in both the semi-finals and the final. It will be interesting to see how a redesigned Bengaluru FC defense cope with their pace and accuracy. His partnership with Krishna in advance could be decisive.
Hugo Boumous: For many it was a big surprise when ATK Mohun Bagan announced the signing of the French playmaker Hugo Boumous in July. It was nothing short of a coup. After all, he was one of the most highly decorated players in the ISL and a winner last season with Mumbai City FC. Boumou’s presence in the midfield of ATK Mohun Bagan means both Krishna and Williams can expect top notch service. The Blues would do well to remember that with 19 goals in the ISL so far, he is also a strong goal threat.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu: The great goalkeeper is in the shape of his life. The other day against Club Eagles, Maldives, he helped his team to another goal. In the 44th minute, the Eagles could have equalized without Gurpreet’s vigilance in goal. A corner had come off defender Sarthak Golui’s foot and required quick reflexes from Gurpreet to keep the lead intact. In June of this year, the manager also made great appearances in the qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup in Doha.
Suresh Wangjam: Like Gurpreet, Wangjam had a fabulous year in the colors India. After making his India debut against Oman in March, the midfielder grew stronger and played in India’s remaining three qualifying matches for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup in Doha. It was no surprise when the AIFF named him the Men’s 2020-21 Emerging Footballer. Bengaluru FC captain Sunil Chhetri thinks Wangjam is a special talent for his age and the 20-year-old will try to live up to those expectations. Expect him to make a difference on Wednesday.
Cleiton Silva: Cleiton Silva had a good 2020/21 ISL season and was one of the few bright spots for Bengaluru FC. He scored seven goals and provided four assists, but with the team struggling, his performances never got the recognition they deserved. However, now is the time to start over. He wasn’t at his best against Club Eagles on Sunday but he could be excused considering it was his first competitive game in four months. Now that the real tournament begins, you can expect Silva to raise the stakes. In April of this year, Silva had also scored a brace against the Nepalese Tribhuvan Army FC in the preliminary round match of the 2nd round of the AFC Cup.
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