Reigning champions Atletico de Kolkata will be keen to keep their unbeaten record intact against the rampaging FC Goa when the two heavyweights clash in an exciting Sunday showdown of the Indian Super League football tournament in Kolkata on Sunday.
The Brazilian legend Zico’s brigade is currently on a high after their magnificent 7-0 win over Mumbai, an ISL record as they sit pretty on atop table with a solid goal difference of eight.
But Zico and Co seem to be wary of an opponent against whom they’ve never won from four matches, that included their heartbreaking semifinal second leg loss at home to the eventual winners via penalty shootout.
That would put ATK’s astute coach Antonio Habas in a different confidence zone as he would be able to deploy his men in a more flexible way.
The return of Ofentse Nato after serving national duty for Botswana will infuse solidity to their central defence which has come under severe criticism for letting in goals in every match of the season so far.
Only in their last match, a sloppy defence from Augustine Fernandes had handed bottom-placed Chennaiyin FC a first half lead before ATK bounced back to win 2-1.
Having returned from a one and half month injury layoff, ATK marquee player Helder Postiga was not named in the squad against CFC and it remains to be seen if Habas brings on the Portuguese World Cupper if not in the XI, than from the bench.
To their advantage, ATK have slowly come to terms with the prolonged absence of Postiga as the trio of Sameehg Doutie, Jaime Gavilan and Iain Hume are brilliantly coming up together and it would be interesting to see them in action against the Goan defence manned by Luciano Sobrosa.
The likes of Dudu Omagbemi and Thongkhsiem Haokip, their two hat-trick heroes against Mumbai FC in the last outing, along with the Brazilian midfielder Leo Moura who had five assists in their victory, will be at the centre of the Goan attack as Zico would bank on them to break the team’s jinx and restore some pride.
The second edition of the tournament has been by far wide open for all the top eight teams as only three points separate the top five teams, making the last four progression toughest with chances for all teams including bottom-placed Chennaiyin FC (10 points from 10 matches), albeit arithmetically.
A win for FCG (18 from 10 matches) on Sunday will not only break their ATK jinx but will consolidate their position atop the table, while the home side, who’re currently on the third place, have the chance to jump to the pole position as they’re just one point below the leaders.