Individual aspirations on the line as ATK welcome Chennaiyin
There will hardly be any room for error when former Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) champions, ATK FC and Chennaiyin FC go toe-to-toe for three crucial points at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Sunday. Both outfits are chasing their respective targets and cannot afford anything less than three points.
In the reverse fixture earlier in the season, ATK emerged 1-0 victors but will face a much different and much better Chennaiyin side this time around.
Being locked in an intense battle for the elusive top spot has kept Antonio Habas’ side on their toes for more than a few weeks now. However, the two-time champions have responded well to that pressure and come into the game on the back of four successive wins. They’ve scored a staggering nine goals in those games whilst conceding just once. A win against Chennaiyin will help the club become just the third side in Hero ISL history to win more than four consecutive matches in a single season.
Giving them the confidence to make that a reality will be their exemplary record in Kolkata this season. Habas’ side have won six of their eight matches at home this term, scoring a massive 17 goals at an average of 2.3 per match – the second-highest tally in the division. Defensively, they’re just as strong, conceding a mere five goals – the second-fewest so far.
Wing-back Prabir Das has been instrumental in ensuring the defensive solidity and has played a part in every game for the club this season. Besides being hard to get past in the defensive phase, the 26-year-old has proven quite an outlet for the club in the attacking areas, creating 17 chances this season – just three less than Rafael Crivellaro’s league-high tally of 20. With three assists to this name, Prabir is only behind Kerala Blasters’ Jessel Carneiro as the defender with most assists in the Hero ISL 2019-20 term.
The goalless draw at home to defending champions, Bengaluru FC last Sunday temporarily halted the club’s exponential rise up the Hero ISL 2019-20 table. Ever since Owen Coyle took over the managerial duties, the Marina Machans have been stupendous, to say the least, demonstrating tremendous pace, trickery and elegance, especially at the attacking end. However, in their laudable chase for the semi-finals, the two-time champions must keep going and will be targeting a win in Kolkata.
Their record against top teams, though, will be a matter of concern for Coyle. In their six meetings with the current top four sides in the table, Chennaiyin have lost four matches and have failed to register a single win. Furthermore, the club have failed to win any of their four away matches against such sides this season. After the trip to Kolkata on Sunday, Coyle’s side will be away to Mumbai City FC in their final game of the campaign, and thereby, will need to work on their away performance to fulfil their ambitions.
To aid them in this regard will be striker Nerijus Valskis, who is in good form and will be looking to close the gap to ATK’s Roy Krishna in the Golden Boot race. The Lithuanian has 12 goals to his name, with five of them coming in away matches – the third-most by a player in away fixtures this season.
ATK FC: Arindam Bhattacharja (GK), Pritam Kotal, Victor Mongil, Sumit Rathi, Anas Edathodika, Prabir Das, Javier Hernandez, Armando Sosa Pena, David Williams, Jayesh Rane, Roy Krishna
Chennaiyin FC: Vishal Kaith (GK), Laldinliana Renthlei, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Eli Sabia, Lucian Goian, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Edwin Vanspaul, Anirudh Thapa, Rafael Crivellaro, Andre Schembri, Nerijus Valskis
Did you know?
- ATK have scored a league-high 10 goals from through balls.
- Chennaiyin have scored a league-high three goals from free-kicks.
- ATK have scored 11 goals in the first 15 minutes of both halves – joint-highest in the league.
Live Broadcast Schedule:
Hero ISL 2019-20 Match 84: ATK FC vs Chennaiyin FC
Date: February 16 (Sunday)
Time: 7:30 PM onwards
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Hotstar and Jio TV