ATK MohunBagan, Bengaluru FC lock horns for ISL 2023 final

An exhilarating Indian Super League season will crown its champion as ATK MohunBagan take on Bengaluru FC for the silverware at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Saturday.
A win for the Mariners can hand them their maiden ISL title, while the Blues could lift their second one, having last done so in the 2018-19 season. Atletico Kolkata (ATK) before MohunBagan was bought over, had won ISL titles.
ATKMB have been unbeaten in five games leading up to the final, where they have only conceded once in those five games while keeping four clean sheets.
The club’s defensive prowess has been evident since the league phase, where they conceded just 17 goals all season, making them statistically the second-best defensive team in the league after Hyderabad FC.
A solid defensive backline with PritamKotal and Brendan Hamill enabled the Mariners to achieve this feat.
However, in the last four games, SlavkoDamjanovic has replaced Hamill at the heart of defence as ATK MohunBagan have kept clean sheets in all those games. AsishRai has been a threat down the right flank.
In attack, the only player that head coach Juan Ferrando could be without is AshiqueKuruniyan, but the ATKMB coach is positive about him playing. He will be assessed in training before the final against his former club.
“In the last few games, they (Bengaluru FC) have been very good and have played confidently. On the field, they look like a proper team. It will be very important to control this game from the start. The focus, as always, is on our team, and we have faith in our plan,” said Ferrando.
Despite beating League Shield winners Mumbai City FC on penalties in the semi-final, Bengaluru FC suffered their first regulation-time defeat of the year in the second leg. The Blues were on a 10-game winning run before the Islanders restored parity and eventually lost on penalties.
Head coach Simon Grayson has used Sunil Chhetri as an impact substitute and in the last five games, the 38-year-old Indian skipper has come on to score vital goals on three occasions.

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