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ISL: Mumbai City face ATK Mohun Bagan for League Winners Shield

This is the final game of the ISL's league stage

mumbai-city-isl-com Only a win could see Mumbai City FC grab the top spot alongside a spot in the AFC Champions League | via ISL official website

Mumbai City FC will be eyeing three points to finish at the top and grab a spot in the AFC Champions League when they clash with table-toppers ATK Mohun Bagan in the final game of the ISL league stage in Bambolim on Sunday.

The contest at the GMC Stadium, between two of the most consistent teams of this season, will see Mumbai City and ATK Mohun Bagan battle it out for their first League Winners Shield crown.

While Mumbai City held a comfortable lead at the summit in the first half of the season, an unexpected slump since January saw them relinquish their position to their rivals from Kolkata.

With one last game to go, it’s all or nothing for the Islanders. Only a win could see them grab the top spot alongside a spot in the AFC Champions League (ACL). Anything less than three points, and that place will be taken by ATKMB.

During the last meeting between the two sides, Bartholomew Ogbeche’s goal proved to be the difference.

However, Mumbai coach Sergio Lobera said Sunday’s match will be different from the first leg.

“The first leg was another game (where) we won three points but tomorrow is a final,” he said.

“We need to play to win and we need to manage this situation well. It’s not like the games we played before because it’s not about just the three points, but to win a final.”

The match will pit the best attack of the league against the best defence.

Mumbai have scored 33 goals and boast of the best conversion rate. ATKMB, on the other hand, have been the meanest defense—conceding just 13 goals—alongside registering a league-high tally of 10 clean sheets.

Lobera urged his side to stay true to their style rather than focus on the result.

“They have a very good defense but not only (that), but also a good balance between attack and defense,” he said.

“For us, it’s important to be loyal to our style of play and show passion in some moments during the game because it’s not easy to find spaces and have a lot of chances against them.”

While a point may be enough for the Mariners to finish at the top, coach Antonio Habas stated his side won’t settle for anything less than a win.

“We have to be prepared to win, not to draw,” he said.

“It’s a historic moment (if we qualify) but we have to play the match like another match. We play for three points. We have to be concentrated because we play a rival that is very difficult in attack.”

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