ISL: No team has overturned a two-goal deficit in the semifinal - Can Krishna and Colaco turn the tide for ATKMB?

Roy Krishna Hyderabad ATK Mohun Bagan ISL 8 play-offsISL

ATK Mohun Bagan have a mountain to climb when they will go up against Hyderabad FC on Wednesday evening in the semifinal of the ISL (Indian Super League). They succumbed to a 3-1 loss in the first leg and need to win by at least a two-goal margin at the end of regulation time to level the aggregate score and take the game to extra time.

Although it might look daunting given the scheme of things, the firepower in the ATK Mohun Bagan attacking department gives a ray of hope to the Mariners. Their talisman in Roy Krishna has found his shooting boots and was the scorer of their solitary goal in the first leg. That should provide much relief to coach Juan Ferrando. He was used not like a typical number nine upfront but in the right wing by the coach. However, it would be interesting to find out if he is reinstated to his usual position alongside his partner-in-crime David Williams given that he looked ill-at-ease in a wider role.

Moreover, they have a match-winner in Liston Colaco who has been sensational in this edition of ISL. In fact, no player has attempted more shots (55) than Colaco, with 30 of them on target (most in the league) and eight finding the back of the net. They are also likely to be boosted by the return of Hugo Boumous from the start which will further sharpen their attack. In the first leg, their midfield was cramped with players who lack creativity in Deepak Tangri, Lenny Rodrigues and Joni Kauko and hence the inclusion of Boumous should be a breath of fresh air.

Juan Ferrando ATK Mohun Bagan ISL 2021-22

However, Bagan's defensive woes remain a major cause of concern for the Spanish tactician as they have conceded seven goals in their last six games. Sandesh Jhingan looks like a shadow of his former self and has not quite been the same since his return from Croatia. Meanwhile, Pritam Kotal looks jaded and has struggled to keep up with the intensity, especially in the final quarter of games. 

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Javier Siverio and Bartholomew Ogbeche proved too much to handle for this beleagured green and maroon defence and even if the forwards do their job, they must keep things tight at the back to have a realistic chance of making it to the final. There is little doubt that the Nigerian striker will once again try to make an impact with his goals as he needs just one more strike to record the highest goals scored by an individual in a single ISL season. 

Stat Credit: Opta Jeev

  • Hyderabad FC are just the second team to score three goals in their first-ever playoffs game in Indian Super League history after Kerala Blasters FC (3-0 vs Chennaiyin FC in December 2014).
  • ATK Mohun Bagan enter the second leg of the semi-final on the back of two successive losses, never before have the Mariners lost three straight games in Indian Super League history.
  • ATK Mohun Bagan have had 19 of their goals scored by Indian players in this season of the Indian Super League, the most for any franchise. Another goal for the Mariners by an Indian player would see them level the all-time record for most goals scored for a team in a single ISL season by Indian players (Bengaluru – 20 goals, 2018/19).
  • Among players to have attempted at least 20 tackles in the Indian Super League this season, no one has a higher tackle success rate than ATK Mohun Bagan’s Joni Kauko (90%); 18 of Kauko’s 20 tackles have been successful this season.
  • No player has registered more 10+ progressive carries (carries with the ball moving at least 10 metres upfield) in the Indian Super League this season than Hyderabad FC full-back Akash Mishra – 91.