ISL 2019-20: Odisha FC 0-0 ATK- Talking points

Both Odisha FC and ATK played out a goalless draw in the Indian Super League clash where the latter escaped with a point to its name.

Aridane Santana in action against ATK at the Balewadi Stadium.   -  ISL MEDIA

ATK maintained its lead at the top of the Indian Super League (ISL) points table with a goalless draw against Odisha FC. Odisha, meanwhile, remains sixth on the table with five points.

Sportstar looks at what stood out in the game at the Balewadi Stadium on Sunday.


Sarangi impresses again

Teenage defender Shubham Sarangi had an impressive outing yet again. The youngster didn't put a foot wrong at right back, denying Michael Soosairaj any room to cut in onto his favoured right foot. In total, he attempted 50 passes while making three tackles, six clearances and two interceptions. He also had a shout for a penalty turned down in the first half when Soosairaj clipped his heel but the appeals were turned down by the referee.

Sarangi and Jerry Mawihmingthanga's threat proved to be difficult for Soosairaj to deal with and ATK boss Antonio Habas was proactive to move the Tamil Nadu player to the right side at the start of the second half and bring in a defensive cover on the left flank. Sarangi's form bodes well for Odisha FC, which has kept two successive clean sheets.

Square pegs in a round hole

ATK has had the settled line-up out of all the teams in the league; rotating with just 12 players in the five starting XIs put out. On its travels, the team is often set up to hit on the counter attack, despite having plenty of attacking riches in the squad. Soosairaj at left wing-back is becoming increasingly isolated as an attacking influence in away fixtures. In the first half, he was left facing his team's goal than the opposition's side.

He began the second half as a right winger in a 4-4-2 formation, but was hooked off in the 61st minute for striker Jobby Justin. Jobby, too, had an ineffective performance in his short cameo from the right side because ATK still had two experienced strikers in David Williams and Roy Krishna on the pitch. Jobby's only shot came from a corner kick.

Habas will be forced to rethink his strategy of introducing attacking midfielder Edu Garcia, who has three goals while coming off the bench, early and find a right position for him.

Let off for ATK

It was a let off for ATK despite having the two best chances in the match. Odisha players had an off night committing unforced errors with their first touches and creating not many goal-scoring chances. Jerry was fatigued towards the second half of the match and failed to add on to his three assists due to his wayward crossing. Xisco's relegation to the bench meant Odisha couldn't use the full resources of Aridane Santana in the No. 9 role in the first half. Instead, he was dropping deep down to hold up the ball and spread play.