Yet another fixture, yet another preview & the same old match outcome. But the only thing that keeps ATK & their fans alive is HOPE ! Tonight ATK face off against their arch rivals in Hero ISL history, Kerala Blasters in the 2nd leg of the tournament. The 1st encounter could only dish out a goalless draw between the two sides which seems unlikely this time around as all three points are at stake at this point in order to move up in the league table as one enters into the business end of the tournament. ATK host them in the VYBK Saltlake Stadium in a quest to salvage some pride and also some points along the way.
ATK is in absolute disarray as they find themselves in their longest losing streak ever of four matches in a row. And they are losing matches at home conditions which by the looks of it seems alien to them as they hardly have proper possession of the ball in their own pitch. Fitness issues continue to trouble ATK all season as after every other match someone or the other are falling prey to injury. The new additions to the injury lists are David Cotterill & Tom Thorpe. Cotterill has been deemed to be out for the rest of the season like Zequinha and so maybe Robbie Keane as he too has caught up with yet another groin injury. Thorpe & Prabir remain doubtful for the game. There’s hardly much to speak about the remaining line up of ATK. It would be hoping against hope trying to fathom out a fruitful result for themselves from this fixture unless something dramatic happens. Martin Paterson remains to be the key to ATK’s success with Taylor, Bipin & Rane stitching in the through balls to him.
While Kerala Blasters have their hopes of making the playoffs pretty much alive. They have already secured 20 points from their 14 games. And points from each of their remaining games can keep them in good stead. The team has made a good turnaround after English Legend David James took over as their manager. Four out of five wins overall has come in his tenure. Likes of Hume, CK Vineet will continue to be a handful upfront in today’s game as suspended KB captain Jhinghan will pass on the task of sorting up the backline to big name, Wes Brown blunting out Robin Singh & co. in making some inroads in the defence.
Lots of fuss around has been on who will be taking over ATK’s managerial role. Ashley’s likely to continue for now but things may change soon. Fans would wish some changes in the final scoreline in favour of ATK rather than anything else, be it with the playing XI, or the personnels making the pitch or in the present case that of the ones ruling in the changes as in the end, all’s good when the outcome’s good !