Iain Hume can hurt any defence on the counter-attack, if given room to manoeuvre. The Canadian striker can score with head or feet and create chances for teammates.
Atletico de Kolkata requires him fit for the away Hero Indian Super League match against a supremely confident Mumbai City FC, riding high on home turf at the D. Y. Patil stadium on Sunday.
ATK coach Antonio Habas is disappointed, in the wake of three defeats in a row. There is nothing wrong with his forwards, but momentary lapses in concentration neutralise hard work done to keep ball possession.
The head coach changed goalkeepers, moving Amrinder Singh after first two games for Juan Sanchez, then brought back the Indian for the sixth match.
Custodian Edel Bete’s absence is being felt by the Spanish head coach (the Cameroon shot-stopper switched sides to Chennaiyin FC). The backline is not settled, due to changes by Habas in an effort to lend solidity.
Bete’s exit is something ATK has to live with. Marquee player and striker Helder Postiga’s non-availability due to injury picked up after two goals in the opener is another problem the team has to deal with now.
Hume’s efforts upfront in creating chances with slick passing have not been successful so far, leading to the defending champion in the lower half of the table after three losses in six matches.
Habas’s assembly of midfielders includes Valmiro Rocha (Valdo) from Real Madrid, who came on as substitute against Chennaiyin FC and scored off a Hume pass.
ISL 2014 sensation Borja Fernandez is another ace in the pack. This Eibar and Real Madrid player, armed with La Liga experience in defensive midfield role, is influential on the pitch and will be marked, besides Hume who was lucky to escape without major injury following repeated fouls by Delhi defenders.
Izumi Arata’s fitness problems limit Habas’s hand in the offence, even as he seeks the right personnel at the back against Nicolas Anelka’s upbeat team tomorrow.
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