Road To The Final
Mumbai City, under the tutelage of new head coach Sergio Lobera and a revamped squad with 17 new faces, came into the 2020/21 campaign with great expectations and ambitions. After a defeat to NorthEast United on opening day, the Islanders put up a show with free-flowing football and went on a 12 game unbeaten run.
Another defeat to NorthEast United followed, as Sergio Lobera’s side hit an uncharacteristic dip in form, winning just twice in eight games. The resilience and mentality of the squad showed as Mumbai City finished the league stage strongly and lifted the Hero ISL League Winners’ Shield, getting the better of ATK Mohun Bagan in a final day showdown.
Finishing as table-toppers, Sergio Lobera’s side were pipped against his former employer FC Goa in a two-legged semi-final. After a thrilling 2-2 draw in the first leg and with the away goal rule not in effect, the equation was simple for both sides – win the return leg. After 120 minutes of end to end action and Amrinder Singh’s heroics, the game ended 0-0 and it was down to the lottery of the penalties. The shootout went to sudden death as Phurba Lachenpa, who replaced Amrinder, pulled off a solid performance before Rowllin Borges slotted home the penalty that sent the Islanders to their maiden ISL Final.
The newly-formed entity, ATK Mohun Bagan, entered into the 2020/21 campaign and retained a major core group of the title-winning ATK squad from last season along with head coach Antonio Lopes Habas. The side held on to the likes of Roy Krishna, David Williams, Javi Hernandez and further strengthened the squad with the addition of former Islanders Subhasish Bose, Sandesh Jhingan, Tiri, and Manvir Singh to name a few.
The Mariners, who started off the campaign with three wins in three, endured a consistent run of form throughout the campaign. Habas’ unit, along with the Islanders, proved to be the runaway sides and took up the top two spots in the standings through a large chunk of the season. The January addition of experienced customer Marcelinho, on loan from Odisha FC, added a fresh dimension to the attack of a side already boasted of some of the best firepower in the league.
ATK Mohun Bagan hit a rich vein of form during the business end of the league stage, winning five in five. Needing a win against Hyderabad FC to secure the League Winners’ Shield, the Mariners mustered a draw before going into the final day showdown against the Islanders. With just a draw required, the Mariners succumbed to a second loss to Mumbai City on the final day of the league stage.
Habas’s side squared off against a rejuvenated NorthEast United in the semifinals, who under interim coach Khalid Jamil, had seen a dramatic turnaround to their campaign. After leading for the majority of the first leg through a David Williams’ goal, ATK Mohun Bagan conceded in stoppage time to take the game to the second leg. A comprehensive performance saw the Mariners pick up a 2-1 win over the Highlanders to book their place in Saturday’s showdown at the Fatorda.
Mandar Rao Dessai will miss the action in the big Final after picking up yellow cards in both the legs of the semi-final. The rest of the squad, as confirmed by Sergio Lobera, is fit and available.
With no suspensions for ATK Mohun Bagan, Antonio Habas will have a full squad to choose from for the Final.
Who Said What
Sergio Lobera: It's important to work collectively and compete very well. I think we are doing it very well as a team in the last few games. If you want to win trophies you need to be competitive.
Amrinder Singh: It's a big game and if you keep a clean sheet, then half of your job is done. My focus is more on our style of play, on how we will approach the game tomorrow.
Where To Watch It
The game will kick off at 7.30pm IST and will be broadcast on the Star Sports Network, Disney+ Hotstar, and Jio TV for all viewers in India. For our global fans, you can find your local broadcaster here or follow all the action LIVE on our official Twitter account - @MumbaiCityFC.