After suffering a humiliating 4-2 loss at the hands of Gokulam Kerala FC in the opening game, ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) will lock horns with Bangladesh giants Bashundhara Kings in their AFC Cup 2022 group stage match at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday, May 21.
The Kolkata club suffered another massive blow when Tiri, an absolute rock at the back for ATKMB, sustained a knee injury against Gokulam Kerala. Meanwhile, midfield maestro Hugo Boumous is still out injured for the green and maroon brigade.
Hence, Juan Ferrando's men will be handicapped going into the encounter. Furthermore, it's a do-or-die match for ATK Mohun Bagan as even a draw or a loss will draw curtains to their AFC Cup ambitions.
Meanwhile, the Bashundhara Kings had a bright start to the tournament with a gritty 1-0 victory over Maldives' Maziya Sports and Recreation Club. Forward Nuha Marong scored the lone goal of the match to give the Kings three points. The reigning Bangladesh Football Premier League champions currently sit second in the AFC Cup group, behind Gokulam Kerala.
ATK Mohun Bagan vs Bashundhara Kings: Key Players
#1 Joni Kauko (ATK Mohun Bagan)
The Bashundhara Kings have a stacked midfield, ably led by Miguel Ferreira, who has been firing on all cylinders in the Bangladesh Football Premier League. In four league games this season, he has already scored five goals and assisted twice. Hence, closing him down in the final third will be a humongous task for ATKMB.
Precisely, that's where Joni Kauko comes in. The Finnish midfielder is an absolute metronome going up and down the pitch. Along with Lenny Rodrigues, Kauko has to tie down Miguel from working his magic on the edge of the ATK Mohun Bagan box. Meanwhile, Kauko is himself a wonderful passer of the ball and he'll be pivotal in quick transitions for the Mariners.
#2 Robinho (Bashundhara Kings)
To keep it short and precise, Robinho has been a talisman for the Kings. The 26-year-old winger is an absolute menace on the left flank, and Prabir Das will have his hands full throughout the 90 minutes. The Brazilian international also has a hunger for goals and is very capable of making inside runs, so tying him down on the counters won't be an easy task.
Robinho is also in a rich vein of goal-scoring form, having scored 11 times and assisted on nine occasions in the league.
ATK Mohun Bagan vs Bashundhara Kings: Predicted Lineups
ATK Mohun Bagan: Amrinder Singh (GK); Subhasish Bose, Carl McHugh, Pritam Kotal (C), Prabir Das; Joni Kauko, Lenny Rodrigues, David Williams; Liston Colaco, Roy Krishna, Manvir Singh.
Bashundhara Kings: Anisur Rahman Zico (GK); Tariq Kazi, Bishwanath Ghosh, Khaled Shafiei, Yeasin Arafat; Masuk Mia Zoni, Sohel Rana; Miguel Figueira, Mohammad Ibrahim, Robinho; Nuha Marong.
ATK Mohun Bagan vs Bashundhara Kings: Livestream and Telecast
The AFC Cup 2022 group stage match will be played at the Salt Lake Stadium on May 21, 2022. The game will be telecast live on Star Sports 3 in India from 4:30 pm IST and can also be streamed on Hotstar and JioTV.
ATK Mohun Bagan vs Bashundhara Kings: Quotes from coaches
Mariners head coach Juan Ferrando appreciated the Kings' fighting spirit ahead of the match, saying:
"They [Bashundhara Kings] are an amazing team. They are getting competitive and fighting in all their games. They look well planned and there are good players in their team. So a lot of positive points in this team. We know that we'll be up against a very good side."
Bashundhara Kings head coach Oscar Bruzon, meanwhile, acknowledged that the Mariners are struggling but warned his team not to be complacent:
"ATK Mohun Bagan are a team still in transition. They need to adapt more to the coach's plan. We know they are struggling at the back. But I am sure the coach has identified the struggles, and we will not get complacent."