ISL 2018-19: ATK, Jamshedpur face off in race for top-four finish

ATK and Jamshedpur FC, both defensive-minded teams, lock horns in a crucial contest at the Salt Lake Stadium.

Steve Coppell has urged ATK to go on the offensive for the contest.   -  AFP

The competition for a top-four finish is of real interest in the ongoing Indian Super League.

Two teams well in contention for it are ATK and Jamshedpur FC. They will lock horns at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Sunday.

Jamshedpur, currently possessing 20 points from 13 matches, is fifth in the table, and will try hard to log full points and regain its position in the top-four. Host ATK is a spot behind with 17 points from 13 outings; it will also want a win to keep its qualification hopes alive.

Interestingly, both the sides have a defence-oriented approach. It is evident from the good number of matches drawn by them. Jamshedpur, like Bengaluru FC, the top team in the points table, has lost just one match, but falls behind the latter on the point count for playing eight draws (the remaining four being wins). Bengaluru, in comparison, has won nine and drawn just three (collecting 30 points from 13 matches).

Goals needed

ATK, which has suffered four loses, has also dropped points with five drawn matches, the latest of which was a contest against Kerala Blasters. Realising the situation, ATK head coach Steve Coppell has urged his team to go on the offensive. “We have to be more unrestrained in terms of attacking. We have to play a little bit more off the cuff. We talk about [Manuel] Lanzarote and Edu [Garcia], who are capable of scoring out of nothing. Jayesh [Rane] and Hitesh [Sharma] are also there. We need the players to produce goals for us,” Copell said.

Jamshedpur FC coach Cesar Ferrando admitted the big number of draws are really hurting his side. “Yes, we have drawn a lot of matches. I think we played very well in many matches but that was not enough to win. We are a good team but we need to improve our attacking,” Ferrando said.

Compounding Ferrando’s problems will be the absence of Australian star Tim Cahill, who is injured, and Spanish winger Carlos Calvo, who is suspended.