AFC Cup 2021: ATK Mohun Bagan braced for a tough test against Nasaf2 min read
MUMBAI: ATK Mohun Bagan eye a place in the AFC Cup inter-zone final when they take on Uzbekistan’s FC Nasaf in their inter-zone semi-final at the Markaziy Stadium on Wednesday.
The Mariners last played in August in their Group D-South Zone campaign in the Maldives and despite insufficient training in the lead-up, they gave a great account of themselves.
Faced with a formidable opponent and unfamiliar territory, ATK Mohun Bagan will need to cover for the departure of central defender Sandesh Jinghan, who has joined Croatian club Šibenik since the 1-1 draw with Bashundhara Kings which saw the Indian side advance as South Asian Zonal champions.
Hugo Boumos is also out, having been omitted from the squad to make way for Joni Kauko, a newly signed midfielder who appeared in all three of Finland’s matches at UEFA Euro 2020 earlier this year.
What Antonio Lopez Habas’ side lack in competitive preparation matches, they hope to make up for in talent and ambition.
The star attacking duo of Roy Krishna and David Williams have travelled after combining for three of the team’s six goals in the group stage, while goalkeeper Amrinder Singh will be aiming to build on a positive start to life at ATK Mohun Bagan.
“We are well prepared for tomorrow’s game,” Singh told local media at the pre-match press conference.
“It’s true that our domestic championship ended a long time ago, but we played in a lot of games, and there haven’t been any problems.”
Fans of the Kolkata-based side will, at the very least, be expecting a far better result than the last Indian team to venture to Karshi for an AFC Cup clash, with Dempo suffering a 9-0 defeat in the group stage back in 2011.