Habas’ ATKMB takes on Lobera’s Mumbai City in the game that matters.
Sergio Lobera will be looking for his maiden Indian Super League (ISL) title while Antonio Habas will be keen to maintain his blemish-less record in ISL finals when Mumbai City FC takes on ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa on Saturday.
Mumbai head coach Lobera previously led FC Goa to a runner-up finish in the 2018-19 final, while ATKMB’s Habas has a clean 2-0 record in summit clashes, having managed two trophies with ATK – prior to the merger with Mohun Bagan – including last year.
These are the two best sides in the competition, with identical records in the league stage — 12 wins, four defeats, four draws and 40 points each. But it remains to be seen if ATKMB bears any of the scars from its twin defeats to Mumbai. The second of these (2-0) came on the last day, with Lobera’s men pipping Habas to the coveted AFC Champions League slot.
But recent form in the semifinal playoffs may give ATKMB some solace. Where it defeated Khalid Jamil’s impressive NorthEast United FC 3-2 on aggregate in regulation time, Mumbai huffed and puffed and, in the end, needed a nerve-wracking penalty shootout to progress.
Lobera will also miss the seasoned wing-back Mandar Rao Dessai, who is out with a suspension, while Habas has a near-full squad to choose from.
Will Krishna be lucky?
Of added interest will be Roy Krishna’s pursuit of the Golden Boot, which he narrowly missed out on last year.
The ATKMB striker is tied with Goa’s Igor Angulo on 14 goals, and if he doesn’t score, Angulo will win by virtue of having a superior goals-scored to minutes-played ratio.
The race for the golden glove will also see an endgame, with Mumbai custodian Amrinder Singh and ATKMB’s Arindam Bhattacharja tied on 10 clean sheets.
The latter is slightly ahead, having conceded fewer goals (16 to 20).