ISL: ATK looks to turn things around in home leg against Bengaluru

ATK will look for a turnaround in the home leg of the semifinal against Bengaluru on Sunday, after losing 0-1 in the away leg last week.

ATK lost to Bengaluru 0-1 in the first leg of the semifinal after Deshorn Brown scored the winning goal.

ATK lost to Bengaluru 0-1 in the first leg of the semifinal after Deshorn Brown scored the winning goal.   -  ISL Sportzpics

Former champion ATK returns to home soil as it gears up to face defending champion Bengaluru FC in the second leg of the Indian Super League (ISL) semifinal at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Sunday.

Having lost the first leg by a solitary goal, ATK needs to win by a clear two-goal margin to secure its entry in the final. Much like what it did at home previous Sunday, Bengaluru just needs to ensure a cleansheet to make it to the summit clash for the second successive season.

Aiming to bounce back from the first leg's defeat, ATK head coach Antonio Lopez Habas did not have to look too far back for inspiration. On way to securing its maiden ISL title, its rival Bengaluru won the semifinal downing NorthEast United FC 3-0 at home in the second leg. By that result, it upturned the 1-2 loss that it had suffered visiting the latter’s home in Guwahati in the first leg. “There are instances in the past where the second leg result has determined the outcome. I have confidence in my players and hope they play to their potential,” Habas said.

Read | ISL: Second-best ATK sets sight on record third title

“They (Bengaluru FC) are a much settled side having been there together for a few seasons. Ours has undergone some restructuring this season but still there are certain areas where we have proven our strength. We have to focus on what we can do best and get the result on our side,” said the ATK forward David Williams.

For Bengaluru FC head coach Carles Cuadrat, there are some concerns in defence -- the area where his team has done the best conceding the least number of goals (13). Left-Back Nishu Kumar is suspended while the Spaniard Albert Serran remains doubtful with an injury.

“We know we can go there and win the match. Even if we lose 2-1 or 3-2 we will be in the final so we will try to do our best there,” Cuadrat said putting faith on the likes of Sunil Chhetri, Erik Paartalu and Dimas Delgado, three names which have figured prominently in the team’s success so far.

ATK urges Mohun Bagan fans to raise the decibel

Looking for a big home support to cheer its players in the crucial second leg of the semifinal, ATK welcomed the fans of its new partner, Mohun Bagan, with which it has decided to join forces from the next season.

With the deal having been announced and the Mohun Bagan officials gracing the ATK VIP boxes in the last few matches, the ATK management felt it better to urge the huge fan base of Mohun Bagan to come to the venue on Sunday and raise the decibel from the stands.

Australian striker Williams said that his team expected a big home support that will inspire the players to produce their best. The ATK appeal seems to have had its effect as a big number of Mohun Bagan members are reported have picked up the tickets offered by their team’s new benefactor.

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