ATK, Goa lock horns in vital top four clash
ATK FC will look to put the disappointing defeat to Kerala Blasters FC in their last match behind them with a win over FC Goa at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday. Currently three points behind the Gaurs in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 points table, Antonio Lopez Habas' men will be eager to erase the deficit and hand themselves a boost in the race to grab the top spot heading into the final five matches of the league phase.
On 21 points from 12 outings, ATK FC are still very much in contention to finish top in what is turning out to be a close race for the top spot this season. With just three points separating the top four, every point will be vital and with both ATK and Goa in the top four, Saturday's tie will be a potential six pointer.
Having lost their first match at home against Kerala in their last outing, the two-time champions will also be desperate to re-establish their dominance on their home turf and a win over mighty Goa will go a long way in achieving that goal.
David Williams' absence due to an injury against Kerala proved to be a major handicap for Habas' men, who looked far less decisive in the final third than they have with the Australian on the pitch. It remains to be seen if Williams can return for the Goa match and if he does, it will be a big boost for the home side. Roy Krishna will be tasked with spearheading the ATK attack and his duel with Goa talisman Ferran Corominas, who too has scored 8 goals this season like Krishna, will add an extra dimension to the contest.
The reverse fixture between the two earlier this season at the Fatorda turned out to be an intense affair with tension running high and embers of the tie is expected to be carried forward into this match.
The Gaurs, meanwhile, will be on the lookout for their first-ever Hero ISL win in Kolkata. In the six matches between the sides at the venue since the Hero ISL's inception, ATK have won one and the remaining five have been draws. On the other hand, Goa are unbeaten in their last five clashes against ATK, winning three and drawing two.
Goa have been sensational this season offensively and their tally of 25 goals is more than any other team in the league. Set pieces have played a major role behind these numbers, with 12 of the 25 goals coming from dead ball situations - again the highest among all the teams in the league. However, with set piece specialist Brandon Fernandes suspended for the match, Goa may find themselves somewhat handicapped in that aspect against ATK.
But with the likes of Hero ISL's all-time top scorer Corominas, the dangerous Hugo Boumous, Jackichand Singh, Seiminlen Doungel in their ranks, Goa will present a formidable threat to the ATK defence, even without Brandon.
ATK FC: Arindam Bhattacharja (GK), Sumit Rathi, Agustin Iniguez, Victor Mongil, Pritam Kotal, Prabir Das, Armando Sosa Pena, Javier Hernandez, Balwant Singh, Michael Soosairaj, Roy Krishna
FC Goa: Mohammad Nawaz (GK), Carlos Pena, Mourtada Fall, Seriton Fernandes, Ahmed Jahouh, Seiminlen Doungel, Jackichand Singh, Lenny Rodrigues, Mandar Rao Dessai, Hugo Boumous, Ferran Corominas
Did you know?
- Goa have scored 14 goals away from home (most in the league).
- ATK have never lost a single match against FC Goa when playing at home.
- FC Goa’s Hugo Boumous has scored four goals and provided two assists in his five away games this season.
Live Broadcast Schedule:
Hero ISL 2019-20 Match 62: ATK FC vs FC Goa
Date: January 18 (Saturday)
Time: 7:30 PM onwards
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Hotstar and Jio TV