ATK Mohun Bagan and Hyderabad fight for top spot
Margao: Back to the winning ways after Juan Ferrando took charge, ATK Mohun Bagan would look to jump to the top of the table when they take on high-flying Hyderabad FC in an Indian Super League match here on Wednesday.
Since Ferrando took over from Antonio Lopez Habas, ATKMB have got back to winning ways, extending their run to two games after the last outing against FC Goa.
The Mariners are back in the top four with 14 points from eight matches but in Hyderabad, they will face an opponent who are on a seven-game unbeaten run.
Placed second in the league standings, Hyderabad will go top of the table if they beat ATKMB as they are one point adrift of table-toppers Mumbai City FC having 15 in their kitty from eight matches.
Even if the Manolo Marquez-coached side draw, they will go to the top riding with a better goal difference.
For ATK Mohun Bagan, the motivation is the same because if they win against Hyderabad, they will also go to the top of the heap. Mumbai City lost to Odisha last night leaving the fight for the top spot open.
Ferrando relished the opportunity in potentially taking ATK Mohun Bagan to the top.
"All games are important but it is a great opportunity for us and the club because they have been working hard the last two weeks, it is a pleasure for me," he said.
"It will be an amazing game. We have similar styles. Hyderabad too likes to play football. They have good players."
For ATKMB, Liston Colaco has been in the form of his life. The 23-year old is their best player at the moment and has netted five goals already, making him the highest Indian scorer in the league this season.
Liston scored in his second successive game in a 2-1 win over FC Goa. He became the first Indian to win more than one Hero of the Match awards this season.
In the last match, Liston scored one of the goals of the season and against his old club Hyderabad, there will be no shortage of motivation for the Goa boy.
However, the Nizams have one of the toughest defenses to break down this season. They have conceded seven goals, the fewest by a team this season.
Hyderabad have kept only one clean sheet so far. However, they have not yet conceded more than one goal in any of the matches they have played.
In their last game, Hyderabad recorded their biggest ever win in the ISL when they beat Odisha FC 6-1.
At the heart of their goal-scoring spree has been Bartholomew Ogbeche who scored a brace in the last outing, taking his tally to eight goals in eight games so far. The Nigerian is currently leading in the golden boot race.
"He is a great player. He has a lot of experience in a lot of countries, including India, with 4 clubs in 4 seasons," Marquez said about Ogbeche's impact.
"He has scored goals in every team even in Mumbai last season when he was not first choice. He has 8 goals now, the same which he had at Mumbai last season. He is an important player for us but he also requires the support of the entire team.