ATK Mohun Bagan will eye a second successive semifinal berth and also look to bridge the gap at the top when they take on lowly Chennaiyin FC in the Hero Indian Super League at the PJN Stadium in Fatorda on Thursday.
ATKMB have been on a roll, remaining unbeaten for 14 games, the second-longest such streak in the history of the tournament. They sit in third place with 34 points and two games to play, and a point would be enough for them to secure a semi spot for the second straight year.
The Mariners will then also be level on points with league leaders Jamshedpur FC who dethroned Hyderabad FC on Tuesday to go top of the tree.
For Juan Ferrando’s ATKMB, besides the likes of Hugo Boumous and Joni Kauko, the Indian forwards have played a key role with Liston Colaco being their top scorer during the unbeaten run with six goals in the 14 matches. Manvir Singh has been the second-highest goal scorer for the club in this run with 5 goals.
Colaco will make his 50th Hero ISL appearance against Chennaiyin, and the in-form player would want to leave a mark and also help his team qualify for the semis. For the record, Indian players have scored 19 goals this season, accounting for 52.78% of the team’s goals.
Meanwhile, for Chennaiyin it has been a season to forget. They leaked three goals against Kerala Blasters in their last outing to remain eighth in the table with just 20 points from 19 games. It will be their final game of the season, and coach Sabir Pasha would hope the former champions can end on a high.
The club made a solid start to the Hero ISL 21-22, going unbeaten in their first four games but they have been on a downward spiral ever since, going winless in their last seven engagements and losing five in that period.
Bozidar Bandovic, who was appointed as the head coach at the start of the season, was sacked after the club lost 5-0 to FC Goa, their heaviest defeat in Hero ISL history.
It remains to be seen if they can upset ATKMB’s apple cart as they held them to a 1-1 draw in the first leg.