Super Cup 2019: Old rivals ATK, Delhi Dynamos seek semis berth

Steve Coppell's ATK will look to expose Delhi Dynamos' brittle defence which saw it leak 27 goals in the Indian Super League 2018-19.

Steve Coppell mentioned that ATK will look to expose the weak backline of Delhi Dynamos.   -  ISL/SPORTZPICS

Familiar Indian Super League foes Delhi Dynamos and ATK will take the field at the Kalinga Stadium here in the quarterfinals of the Super Cup on Friday.

ATK had got the better of Dynamos in their two meetings in this ISL season, where it won 2-1 both home and away. ATK reached the last eight stages after a 3-1 win over Real Kashmir FC in the round-of-16. Dynamos will be playing its first match of the tournament after it was handed a walkover by East Bengal.

Steve Coppell, ATK coach, felt the Dynamos will pose a different challenge compared to Real Kashmir. “We know what their team will be and how they will play. It’s a challenge to play against them because they look to get the forward players on the ball as much as possible and look to get behind the defence. They have two very quick wide players (Lallianzuala Chhangte and Nandakumar Sekar) and it’s a real threat,” Coppell said on the eve of the game.

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ATK’s experienced centre backs Andre Bikey and John Johnson will be on alert to deal with Dynamos' pacy forwards.

Despite its own attacking riches – Manuel Lanzarote, Edu Garcia and Kalu Uche – ATK scratched its way to a top-six finish, scoring just 16 goals, the second lowest in the league behind bottom-ranked Chennaiyin FC.

Coppell wants to take advantage of Dynamos' defensive vulnerabilities on Friday. “We need to understand and stop it (Delhi’s attackers) and impose our game on them. We need to try and get them to defend because they have been vulnerable in that area in the past,” the Englishman said.

Dynamos’ defensive midfielder Vinit Rai, who has put in some impressive performances in the recent past, will be tasked with disrupting Lanzarote’s creativity.

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Dynamos assistant coach Mridul Banerjee was keen to focus on a collective approach rather than individual brilliance. “From a strategic point of view, we made so many points on how we will attack and defend as a team. We want to play as a team,” said Banerjee.

Evidence from the last two seasons shows that a young Dynamos squad has achieved positive results in the latter stages of the season. However, it will need to count on the experience it has gained from its lessons to outsmart Coppell's men.