ATK will be looking to complete its home leg of the league phase when it takes on a resurgent Chennaiyin FC at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday.
The clash of two of the most successful sides of the tournament – with each winning the title twice – is likely to offer an exciting contest as both need a win to realise their individual objectives.
ATK needs a win to join FC Goa at the top of the standings and keep its AFC Asian Champions League qualification dream intact, while Chennaiyin needs a favourable result to keep its playoff chances alive.
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Even the league statistics give out enough about the form of the two opponents. Both sides have scored four wins in their last five outings and have established themselves as two of the best attacking outfits in the current season.
While ATK has maintained a better level of consistency winning 10 matches in 16 appearances (33 points) so far, Chennaiyin has made a spectacular turnaround after making a mediocre start and has six wins in 15 outings (22 points).
“At the moment the performance level is absolutely at its peak for us, but we have to keep on playing that way. It is going to be a good match as both Chennaiyin and ATK play very good football. Our target is to keep on winning the next match every day,” ATK’s Spanish head coach, Antonio Lopez Habas, said.
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Chennaiyin FC’s Scottish head coach, Owen Coyle, also predicted a close contest considering the targets the opponent has set for itself. Coyle, who set Chennaiyin on a recovery path since taking over from outgoing coach John Gregory early in December, said his boys are eager to finish the job.
“The ATK and Chennaiyin are two-time champions for a reason. We have to take our chances to get to the top-four position. It is remarkable what we have done to be where we are now. We have to try and finish our job,” said Coyle while stressing how his team recovered from the bottom of the table to emerge as one of the contenders for a top-four berth.