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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

AFC Cup: ATK Mohun Bagan seek back-to-back wins after clinical show in opener

Antonio Lopez Habas' ATK Mohun Bagan overcame Bengaluru FC 2-0 in the campaign opener on Wednesday, registering more shots on target despite having only 32 percent possession.

By: PTI | Male |
Updated: August 20, 2021 6:50:23 pm
ATK Mohun Bagan's Roy Krishna celebrates after scoring a goal in AFC Cup. (Twitter/AFC)

On a high after a clinical performance in their opener, ATK Mohun Bagan would look for back-to-back success and move closer to qualifying for the knockout stage when they face Maziya Sports & Recreation of Maldives in an AFC Cup group game here on Saturday.

Antonio Lopez Habas’ Kolkata side beat fellow Indian club Bengaluru FC 2-0, registering more shots on target despite having only 32 percent possession.

A win on Saturday could put ATK Mohun Bagan on the verge of a knockout berth from Group D but Habas is keeping his focus only on the match.

“We are going from match to match, and we have another opponent waiting,” said Habas.

“It’s the same idea to give absolute respect to the opponent and we will need to develop our football on the pitch. In football, you could have one bad day or situation that could change the outcome.”

The Spaniard said his players will need to play with intensity throughout the 90 minutes.

“We know how they (Maziya Sports & Recreation) played with other teams, but we have to see how they will perform against us, because maybe they might play differently with a different behaviour.”

The home side, on the other hand, are coming into the match after a 0-2 defeat at the hands of Bangladesh’s Bashundhara Kings.

They fell to two first half goals against Bashundhara but head coach Risto Vidakovic is hoping to build on their second half performance to upset ATK Mohun Bagan.

“I’ve talked to the players, and we know that we didn’t play our best game. We were too nervous, especially in the first half. After the first goal, the team was more nervous,” Vidakovic said.

“It’s not easy to be two goals down and turn everything, as it’s too much pressure. But that game is in the past, and we have to focus on the future. We have another opportunity (against ATK Mohun Bagan) and we are going for it.”

The winners of the four-team Group D will advance to the inter-zone semi-finals against either FC Nasaf of Uzbekistan or FC Ahal of Turkmenistan from the central cone.

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