ISL: ATK meets NorthEast United with an eye on top spot

ATK will look to build on the positive home record when it takes on visitor North East United FC in an ISL fixture at the Salt Lake Stadium on Monday.

ATK can go back on level terms with FC Goa at the top of the ISL table with a win over NorthEast United FC on Monday.

ATK can go back on level terms with FC Goa at the top of the ISL table with a win over NorthEast United FC on Monday.   -  ISL MEDIA

Former champion ATK will look to build on the positive home record when it takes on visitor North East United FC in an ISL fixture at the Salt Lake Stadium on Monday.

With the contest for the top spot getting close as the league approaches the home stretch, the ATK camp will be looking to repeat the emphatic win (3-0) it recorded when it visited Guwahati in the first week of December.

FOLLOW ATK vs NEUFC LIVE HERE

With only two wins under its name and currently placed a lowly ninth in the 10-team table, the Highlanders have not been able to strike consistent form under the charge of the former Croatian World Cupper Robert Jarni.

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On the other hand, ATK has been fairly consistent at home, where it picked up 13 out of the possible 18 points so far. Having beaten both the defending champion Bengaluru FC and last year’s runner-up FC Goa in the previous rounds at home, ATK’s confidence will be quite high.

ATK is placed third in the table with 24 points from 13 outings and a win will again see it dislodging FC Goa from the top.

“For us the first objective is to win and get back to the top (of the standings). NorthEast can be a bit tricky as an opponent as I feel there is little difference between us and them in the way we approach the game,” said the ATK head coach Antonio Lopez Habas.

The ATK gaffer said that he was hopeful of getting Australian forward David Williams back from injury. This will reestablish the successful combination in the ATK attack when Williams teams up with his former Wellington Phoenix colleague, Roy Krishna. “He (Williams) has been training with the side for some time and can make a possible start tomorrow,” Habas said. There was less hope with midfielder Pronoy Halder, who is still recovering.

North East United FC, which has played two matches less compared to the rest of the pack (11 points from 11 matches), will be looking to make amends with two new foreign signings (forward Andy Keogh and midfielder Simon Lundevall) joining it in the new year.

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“In one month, we have seven games. We are aware of the situation and I am always optimistic about fighting for every little hope we have. We will do everything we can to win the match,” NEUFC head coach Jarni said.

The team’s away record has not been that impressive as it has struggled to put together a convincing performance. The visitor will be hoping that the newly signed Irish striker Andy Keogh, who will be filling up the spot of the injured Asamoah Gyan, helps the team get over the striking woes.

The new midfielder, Lundevall, may not be able to ready for the side now but with the likes of Federico Gallego and Martin Chaves in the roster, North East United may hope for a turn around.

Habas handed two-match suspension, to miss ATK vs NEUFC

In a late development, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Disciplinary Committee served out suspensions to ATK head coach Antonio Habas, goalkeeping coach Angel Pindado and Kerala Blasters FC head coach Eelco Schattorie for their misconduct during Kerala Blasters vs ATK on January 12.

Habas will thus be out of technical area against NorthEast United on Monday. The ATK gaffer will also have to pay a fine of INR 1 lakh.

ATK's assistant coach Manuel Perez Cascallana will be in charge of the Kolkata outfit in the absence of the suspended Habas.

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