ATK, tonight face the likes of currently 2nd placed side in the ISL league standings, Chennaiyin FC in a much important away clash in their home turf that of Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai.
ATK, unlike of their characteristics have started this season on a poor note and are still struggling to find their feet in the league even after three games. They are one among the only two sides that are yet to fetch a win for themselves from these many games along with Kerala Blasters. While ATK’s chances look bleak to win this tough encounter against an in-form Chennaiyin FC side, ATK management & fans would desperately hope that a turnaround is just round the corner and this game must be it. While hopes can surely revive spirits but hope can’t win you vital games, you need players with sheer grit and determination nourished with a bit of brilliance here and there to churn out victory from the jaws of defeat looming large over you, here in that case of two time reigning champions, ATK.
Coming to the opponents, ISL-2 champions, Chennaiyin FC has had a formidable start to their campaign with two preceding back to back wins out of three encounters till now with their only loss coming against FC Goa in their first match. They seem to have hit their purple patch pretty soon and will look to provide an uphill task for the disintegrated ATK side to overcome.Players like Rafael Augusto, who has already scored twice this season playing behind well known Indian strike force, Jeje Lalpekhlua along with Francis Fernandes and Gregory Nelson on the flanks have provided consistent goal bound thrust upfront in all their matches and has therefore helped them score as many as six goals in three matches. While ex-ATK savior in last season’s final, Henrique Sereno has led their backline well with foreign quality recruit, Inigo Calderon and retained young resource Jerry Lalrinzuala.
ATK coach, Teddy Sheringham would want his side to step up in their game and try hard to salvage a point if not win and stay in the hunt for a late strike back in the season with a much fitter side as the season progresses. ATK has managed only a solitary goal coming from the young Indian right winger Bipin Singh from a well taken left footed set-piece.The sorry news continued to hit injury-prone ATK side as quality midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh is confirmed to miss out on a few games due to the heavy blow that he recieved in the Jamshedpur game in the previous encounter. Canadian striker Njazi Kuqi, though has recieved immense backing from the coach has failed to stitch in goal bound shots being a striker in all the matches and yet he will still be ATK’s hope as marquee striker Robbie Keane remains doubtful in this game too.
Hope ATK finds a way tonight to bring back some smiles in their fan’s faces which have been rather gloomy throughout till now in this campaign.
Players to watch out for:
Chennaiyin FC : Rafael, Nelson, Jeje, Sereno, Calderon, Jerry, Karanjit(GK)
ATK : Zequinha, Bipin, Figueras, Jussi(GK)
Head to head stats :
ATK 3 – 1 Chennaiyin FC (Out of 8 matches overall)