Atletico de Kolkata play hosts to FC Pune City, who are yet to win an away match this season, in match 48 of the Hero Indian Super League.
Defending champions Atletico de Kolkata have a glorious opportunity to become the first team to seal their place in the semi-finals of Hero Indian Super League if they manage to defeat FC Pune City in Kolkata on Friday.
Atletico de Kolkata suffered from a midseason blip and was almost out of contention for a spot in the semis, but recent results have helped Atletico de Kolkata fight back into contention and are the leaders of the ISL standings with two games remaining.
Coach Antonio Lopez Habas, though, isna t ready to admit that they have already qualified for the semi-finals, as he looks at one match at a time.
a For me, the next match is always the most important one. Against FC Pune City, we have to play to our potential. We have to give maximum effort and show maximum discipline. Ita s not going to be easy,a said Habas .
FC Pune City had managed to defeat the defeat the defending champions in Pune and will be wary of them after having lost to them at the YuvaBharati Kriyangan Stadium last year. Having joked about the magic number being 12 in a previous pre-match press conference, Habas was again pressed about it the media conference. Habas, though, in his usual manner played hardball with the reporters as he said a for me the magic number is to get three points from the next match.a
After all the cagey answers, Habas finally admitted that Postiga is out for the tournament “He’s [Postiga’s] training with the side, but he’s still not match-fit. He’s still not fit enough to play in the tournament. At the moment, he’s not available for ISL. He’s not making much improvement in his fitness.a
FC Pune City made a brilliant start to the season, but are now struggling at sixth place and will need to win their remaining matches if they are to retain any hopes for qualifying into the semi-finals, as the Stallions coach David Platt admitted that ita d be a tough but they will need to show an improvement.
a Ita s a challenge. We have three games left. We have to be consistent and organized.a
The Stallions, who come into the game on the back of a weeka s rest, have already watched their opponents hammer four goals past second placed FC Goa, as David Platt was in the stands studying their opponents.
FC Pune City have been extremely poor this season in away matches and managed to win only two points from a possible 15 and will be inspired to change their away record with a win over the defending champions at the Salt Lake Stadium.
FC Pune will need to improve on their away record with two of their three remaining matches at away grounds if they are to retain their ambitions. They also have a tough fixture with fellow playoff spot chasers Chennaiyin at home.
Image Courtesy: ISL Media