ATK Mohun Bagan will be looking to build on their win over Bengaluru FC when they take on Maldivian outfit Maziya S&RC on 21st August at the National Football Stadium at Male. Maziya, on the other hand, will look to bounce back from their defeat at the hands of Bashundhara Kings. The two Asian heavyweights collide on the second matchday at the AFC Cup 2021 in a bid to get one step closer to the inter-zone semi-final.
Both teams have had extremely contrasting starts to their AFC Cup campaigns. ATK Mohun Bagan started theirs with a bang by beating Bengaluru FC, courtesy of a header from talismanic striker Roy Krishna in the 39th minute and a sweet left-foot strike from Subhasish Bose in the 46th. Despite not having played any professional football since March, ATK Mohun Bagan looked confident on the ball and penetrating every time they ventured forward.
New signings Amrinder Singh, Deepak Tangri, and Hugo Boumous all fit right into Head Coach Antonio Lopez Habas’s style of play on their debuts, with the French-Moroccan midfielder having a stellar first half, creating chances for himself and his teammates. Habas will be tempted to keep the same attacking approach against Maziya S&RC, who leaked poor goals in their opening fixture.
Maziya S&RC’s encounter against the Bashundhara Kings kicked off in disastrous fashion when the captain of the Maldivian side, Mohamed Irufaan, chipped the ball over the keeper and into his own net in the 25th minute. Maziya’s miseries doubled when Fluminese loanee Robson Robinho drilled in a powerful strike at the near post in the 40th minute. Despite trying their best to make a comeback in the second half, Maziya S&RC lacked the directness and the discipline to break down Bashundhara’s defensive lines.
They were vulnerable from counter-attacks and lucky not to have conceded a couple more goals. Only Hamzath Mohamed looked menacing a few times when he glided past Bashundhara defenders but quickly gave in to exhaustion in the second half.
ATK Mohun Bagan will have a fully fit squad going into the game. Roy Krishna, David Williams, and Hugo Boumous were all substituted by Antonio Lopez Habas to prevent any injuries. Boumous suffered a hamstring problem during the game but should be back at Habas’s disposal.
Maziya S&RC also have no injury concerns despite playing a highly physical game against Bashundhara Kings.
Maziya S&RC: Mirzokhid Mamatkhonov(GK), Hassan Shifaz, Jesús Pozo Blanco, Mohamed Irufaan(C), Ahmed Abdulla, Takashi Odawara, Hussain Nihan, Aisam Ibrahim, Hamza Mohamed, Naiz Hassan, Cornelius Stewart.
ATK Mohun Bagan: Amrinder Singh(GK), Sumit Rathi, Carl McHugh, Pritam Kotal, Subhasish Bose, Deepak Tangri, Lenny Rodrigues, Manvir Singh, Hugo Boumous, David Williams, Roy Krishna(C).
Antonio Lopez Habas’s charges will look to exploit the spaces that the Maziya S&RC defense leaves and should manage to do so given the weapons in their arsenal. If anything, the likes of Krishna and Boumous will be more ruthless in attack than their Bangladeshi counterparts. Unless Maziya shrugs off their sloppy passes and frequent offsides and shows a lot of character, they will be in for a very long 90 minutes come Saturday.
Match Date – 21st August 2021 (Saturday)
Time – 21:30 IST
Venue – National Stadium, Male, Maldives
How to watch – Star Sports Network
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