ATK Mohun Bagan FC Preview
ATK Mohun Bagan are on a phenomenal run in the current ISL season. The Mariners are on a four-match winning streak and sit at the top of the table. They are 2 points clear of Mumbai City FC and are the firm favorites to seal the AFC Champions League 2022 spot.
The Mariners have been defensively disciplined and resolute at the back. They maintain a deep-lying backline with two pivots in the midfield. The presence of Sandesh Jhingan, Tiri, and Carl McHugh has made them the toughest side to score against in the league. ATK Mohun Bagan have conceded just 10 goals in 17 games.
ATK Mohun Bagan FC like to sit back, defend, and catch their opponents on the counter. Roy Krishna is the leading goal-scorer of the league with 13 goals from 17 outings. His combination play with Marcelinho, Manvir Singh, and David Williams makes the Mariners a dangerous team against the run of play.
Michael Soosairaj is out of the league stage due to a hamstring injury. Edu Garcia has a knock to his knee as well. Lenny Rodrigues will play a key role in the midfield. The Mariners come into this game on the back of a comfortable 1-0 win over Jamshedpur FC in their previous fixture.
SC East Bengal Preview
SC East Bengal are currently 9th in the ISL standings with 17 points from as many games. The Red and Golds are officially out of the race for a top-four finish after FC Goa's 3-1 win over Odisha FC. Despite their playoff hopes getting dashed, East Bengal have much to play for.
After a horrific start to the league, the Red and Golds have finally settled down as a unit. They like to play with the ball on their feet and use the wings to their advantage. The winter transfers of Bright Enobakhare, Sarthak Golui, and Sourav Das have solidified a rather nervy SC East Bengal defense and attacking line-up.
Matti Steinmann's presence at the center of the park will be crucial to SC East Bengal's chances of finding gaps in ATK Mohun Bagan's defense. Bright Enobakhare's exceptional on-the-ball control and capability to dribble past a number of markers at a single go will be a key factor for the Red and Golds.
The previous clash between the two sides was a comfortable 2-0 win for the Mariners at the start of the league. The fixture was the first ISL game for the Red and Golds, and it showed the difference in quality between the two teams. SC East Bengal were rather unprepared for the match and will hope to make amends for the same on Friday.
With six players on three yellow cards, SC East Bengal will take a cautious approach in this game. With no hopes of progressing in the league, a win in the Kolkata Derby will be the defining moment of the season for the team and its fans.
ATK Mohun Bagan FC vs SC East Bengal Prediction
ATK Mohun Bagan FC are chasing an AFC Champions League spot and will go all guns blazing against SC East Bengal. That said, the resurgent Red and Golds have been improving game by game and will not leave an inch of space for the Mariners to exploit. The Derby is expected to pan out on a competitive note and could end up as a draw.
Prediction: ATK Mohun Bagan FC 1-1 SC East Bengal