ATK aim for 3rd win on the trot
Calcutta: ATK are on a two-match winning streak and will hope to ring in the New Year with a positive start when they host FC Goa in the Hero ISL Ivmatch at the Salt Lake Stadium on Wednesday.
A third successive victory will boost ATK, but the Goan outfit will be hell bent on making a comeback after losing to FC Pune City in their previous match. That a win will take FC Goa closer to table-toppers Chennaiyin FC will be a huge motivating factor for them.
But the home team can draw some hope from the fact that FC Goa have never managed to beat ATK in their previous meetings. ATK have drawn three of their four matches against FC Goa in the city. The visitors are laying more emphasis on their defence because they were being punished for too much focus on attack. However, the good thing for the team is that they have no injury worries.
The sudden change in match schedule plans - postponed to Wednesday from the original date of December 31 last year - was a bit of a concern initially, but FC Goa have used the extra two days to prepare well.
"It's an important match for us because we will be facing a different style of play, but we will focus on maintaining ours. We got two extra days, but we were ready had the match been held on the 31st," assistant coach Derrick Perreira said.
"There's always one bad day in office. We didn't take our chances (against Pune City). There were some decisions which went against us, but that happens in football and you have to forget about it and get back to winning ways while sticking to your style, formation and playing football that is enjoyable," said Pereira.
The pressure will be on ATK who will have to keep up the momentum after not making a enterprising start to the campaign this season. Victories over Mumbai City and Delhi Dynamos have got ATK to move up the table to seventh spot but that hardly is worthy of the defending champions. There's no doubt that ATK will be banking on Robbie Keane to shoulder the responsibility.
They have been looking a completely different side after the inclusion of the Irish legend in their stating line-up following his return from injury. Not only is he playing role of a game-maker in the midfield by stringing passes together in the final third, his presence upfront also has kept opponent's defence on their toes.
He scored his maiden ISL goal in their previous match, while playing out the entire 90 minutes and will be looking to get on the scoresheet again against FC Goa.
No wonder, coach Teddy Sheringham conceded that his presence does make a difference to their fortunes.
If ATK will look up to Keane, Ferran Corominas will hold the key for FC Goa. ATK will surely have plans in place to counter his threat.