ISL 2023-24: Contrasting stakes for Mohun Bagan Super Giant, Punjab FC with title on the line

With the game critical for the chances of both teams to secure their respective objectives for the current season,

New Delhi, April 5 (IANS) With the game critical for the chances of both teams to secure their respective objectives for the current season, Mohun Bagan Super Giant (MBSG) take on Punjab FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Saturday.

For starters, the Mariners have 39 points from 19 games, and they have a realistic chance of surpassing the top-placed Mumbai City FC for the League Winners Shield title. The Islanders have 44 points from 20 matches, and these two teams square off once on April 15, which will play a massive role in determining who finishes the league in first place.

The Mariners lost their previous match to Chennaiyin FC 3-2 at the Salt Lake Stadium, significantly denting their hopes of catching up to Mumbai City FC. Similarly, Odisha FC defeated Punjab FC by 3-1, which has complicated matters for both these teams.

Mohun Bagan Super Giant are a force to reckon with on the road, having garnered 22 points in their away matches so far, which will keep Punjab FC on their toes in this encounter.

Punjab FC have not won any of their last three games at home, and a failure to get three points here will result in the team’s longest-ever winless run there in the ISL. Despite the quality of forwards in their ranks, the team does need to bolster certain metrics to cause trouble to the tremendously gifted Mohun Bagan Super Giant squad.

The team has aggregated a dribble success rate of 41.7% in the current ISL season, which is the least among all teams. They have been diligent defensively though, having made 427 clearances in the current Indian Super League season, the highest of all teams and 95 more than Mohun Bagan Super Giant (332). Overall, 194 of Punjab FC’s clearances are headed clearances, also the most by any side in 2023-24. Mohun Bagan Super Giant will know that they cannot really impose their aerial threat on the league debutants in this match.

Mohun Bagan Super Giant have a chance to become the third team to do the league double over Punjab FC this season, after Odisha FC and Mumbai City FC, having won their previous game by a 3-1 margin in Kolkata. The Mariners have scored 40 goals this season, the most among all teams. They have netted at least thrice in each of their last two away matches.

Doing so once again here will result in their longest such streak in the history of the competition. Mohun Bagan Super Giant has won possession back 54.3 times per game in the current campaign, the second most often of all teams after FC Goa (57.6). The Mariners have won possession back 1,032 times over their 19 games in 2023-24, which promises an engaging encounter this time around.

–IANS

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