Image Courtesy a Indian Super League Media Team
Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) seem to have picked-up right where they had left off, last season, with the defending champions already topping the table, in the Indian Super League (ISL).
In fact just three matches into this yeara s campaign, ATK is the only team thata s yet to lose a match, this season, winning two against Chennaiyin FC and Kerala Blasters, while drawing the other match against FC Goa.
FC Pune City, on the other hand, have just suffered their first loss this campaign, earlier this week, and would be looking to pounce back into the fold, with three points at home.
The match itself, is set to be quite an iteresting one, with the flamboyant attack of Pune going up against the resolute defence of ATK. The Stallions have one of the most reputed attacks in the league, with the likes of Tuncay Sanli, Kalu Uche, and Adrian Mutu in their ranks.
Also with the likes of Indian midfielders Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Jackichand Singh, Pune have a potent midfield, that has the ability to provide for their strikers. This was quite evident, when Lyngdoh provided the assist for Tuncay, in their previous match, against Delhi Dynamos. Jackichand, on the other hand, ahs been extremely effective from the right wing, putting in six crosses in his last match.
While Lyngdoh could only play 17 minutes in the last match (he had returned from international duty, just 24 hours back), he would be an important cog in the Pune engine-room, to break down the ATK defence.
ATK, on the other hand, have shown over the last year that their defence can withstand a lot of pressure, and that has ben exemplified by some brilliant defending by Josemi and Arnab Mondal. ATK would bboosted by th return of the latter to their squad as the Kolkata defender was off on international duty, during their last match against Kerala Blasters.
a Seeing Kolkata, theya re very well-drilled and theya re probably one of the easiest teams to analyse since what you see is what you get,a said Pune coach David Platt. a Theya re well-drilled, organised and thata s testament to them since they win football matches.a
a We know what wea re up against, we know theya re going to be difficult and we know theya re going to be organised,a added Platt.
Meanwhile the ATK camp seems to be pretty confident, ahead of this crucial clash, as their sports director Alberto Marrero said to the media, a We have been saying from the begenning that we give importance to every player. Hopefully the players that start tomorrow and every subsequent game give a performance like they did the last time.a
One key difference about this fixture is that the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium, in Pune has been failing to draw-in as many supporters as the other venues, in this seasona s ISL. The stadium has only been able to draw a little over 8,000 spectators, per match, so far, according to The Hindu.
This could very well play into the hands of ATK, who saw over 60,000 spectators at the Salt Lake Stadium, in Kolkata, against Kerala Blasters.