With its qualifying hopes dashed, two-time former champion ATK will look to conclude its campaign on a winning note when it faces an in-form Delhi Dynamos in the Indian Super League here on Sunday.
ATK suffered a crushing 1-3 defeat to Mumbai City at home for its second successive loss and sixth overall to be eliminated from the playoff race.
For a brief period, after the season resumed in January, it looked as if ATK had completely turned things around.
With the signing of Edu Garcia, ATK looked like a potent threat, picking up an impressive 2-1 against Jamshedpur FC earlier in February.
However, dropping points at FC Pune City and then losing 0-3 at FC Goa meant it was back in the elimination zone before Mumbai completed the formalities in the previous match.
Under tremendous pressure, it would be interesting to see how ATK coach Steve Coppell manages the team against the resurgent Dynamos, which is on a six-match unbeaten run.
A win over Dynamos could take ATK past Pune City into the final round of the Hero Super Cup.
“Who knows whether or not I’ll be here next season. It’s not my decision. We still have one game left this season.”
“The league will get more demanding so you need more good players who are resilient and have the ability to win games.
“We haven’t been consistent enough this season and I didn’t feel our balance of the squad wasn’t there,” the Englishman said reflecting on another trophy-less season.
Dynamos' resurgence too late
The visitor starts the match in eighth place, three points behind ATK. Dynamos is fresh from its spectacular back to back wins over Bengaluru FC and Pune City.
Having spent its first 11 matches in the competition without a single win, the Dynamos has found its mojo back but it’s too little for the side as it also is out of the playoff race.
The highlight of its season came during its outing against Bengaluru as the Lions came from behind to beat the table topper 3-2.
On the attacking front, Delhi has the ability to cause problems with the likes of Ulises Davila and Lallianzuala Chhangte in its ranks.
Indian youngster Daniel Lalhlimpuia made a big impact against Bengaluru with a brace and will be hoping for yet another fine show against ATK.
In defence, Gianni Zuiverloon and Marti Crespi will be tasked with keeping the likes of Kalu Uche and Garcia at bay.