The Champions Look To Consolidate As East Meets West!
17th October 2015
They say getting to the top is easier than staying there. But, our lads seem to be doing it, and how! 13 matches have been played so far in this season of the ISL, and Atletico de Kolkata is the only undefeated team so far. The boys are hungry to win, and like in every match, they'll be going for the kill against FC Pune City tomorrow!
ATK go into tomorrow's match with 7 points from 3 matches. While we won convincingly against Chennaiyin FC in an away game and Kerala Blasters FC in our first home match, we narrowly missed out on winning against FC Goa in an ill-tempered, controversial match. The boys are looking sharp on-pitch and seem to have gelled into a solid unit, the latter all thanks to Head Coach Antonio Habas, of course. Attacking midfielder Arata Izumi, who's been in sparkling form having netted 2 goals in as many matches, couldn't stop praising Coach Habas when we met him last. He said, "(while) every coach has a different style and philosophy, coach Habas' is easy for all of us to execute!"
FC Pune City are currently third on the points table having just suffered a defeat against the Delhi Dynamos. With two wins and a defeat, the hosts for tomorrow's encounter have six points from three games. They'll be playing their fourth home match on the trot this season, and until the match against Delhi they'd done extremely well on their turf. Former Turkey striker TuncaySanli leads them at the front, and he announced his ISL arrival in style when he scored twice in his side's first home game against Mumbai City FC. Pune will be looking at him for inspiration up front. With central midfielder EugenesonLyngdoh and winger Jackichand Singh, who missed the first three games due to national commitments, back, the home side has received a much-needed shot in the arm! Coach David Platt doesn't seem to perturbed about his team's 1-2 loss to Delhi Dynamos, and in fact, said that his wards played better football than in the previous 2 matches that they'd won! He went on to add, "they've (Atletico) won two and drawn one so they are in a strong position. We have to respect them"! Our boys command respect everywhere they go, and tomorrow is yet another opportunity for them to cement their position at the top of the table!
With ArnabMondal and RinoAnto back after fulfilling their national commitments, our defense now looks no less than a fortress! Josemi looks to have recovered completely from his injury and played the full 90 minutes against Kerala Blasters. In fact, he played one hell of a game and was one of the prime reasons why KBFC were unable to break through for the first 80 minutes of the match. With Augustine Fernandes and Denzil Franco also in top-gear, it wouldn't be entirely wrong to call our defense impregnable! Our midfield has been the talk-of-the-town since the first match. With captain and midfield general Borja Fernandez picking up from where he left off last season, and Jaime Gavilan supporting him able, the attacking midfielders have been able to get into a rhythm than has troubled every opponent so far. Javi Lara has been one of the finds of this season of ISL so far. His nimble footwork, impeccable passing, and skillful dribbling have impressed experts and fans alike. With one assist and a goal to his name already, this Spaniard looks set for a cracker of a season ahead! In the absence of marquee player Helder Postiga, it was very important for Coach Habas to come up with a strike force that would be equally devastating. And, he has utilized Arata Izumi and Iain Hume like nobody else could've! In fact, using Arata as a withdrawn striker has been hailed as sheer genius in footballing circles across the country. Blessed with quick legs and great off-the-ball ability and vision, Arata has been wreaking havoc by repeatedly breaking into the opponent's defense and not letting any loose balls go to waste. He's scored 2 goals in 2 matches, and looking at his current form, we won't be surprised if this tally gallops away! Up front we have the prolific Iain Hume who, arguably, is the hardest working player on the team. You'll never see him not-running during a match. He's fast and nippy, and quick to create chances. He's been in great form since his ISL debut last season, and it's only a matter of time before he finds the back of the net. Who knows, maybe tomorrow!
The match promises to be a blockbuster with both sides benefiting from the return of key India players from national duty. While Pune, who're still smarting from the loss to Delhi, will be looking to bounce back at the earliest, Atletico are keen to retain their winning ways and remain at the top of the table. Both sides will be fighting to win, and the match promises to be mouth-watering. So, don't forget to tune into Star Sports and Star Sports HD at 7pm IST tomorrow and cheer for Your Team Your Dream- ATK!