ISL 2018-19: ATK targets playoff berth against Goa

A repeat of the goalless result when they last met each other will do no good to either team’s playoff hopes.

ATK's Edu Garcia (in picture) and Manuel Lanzarote will be key in the attacking third against FC Goa.   -  ISL Media

ATK cannot settle for anything but a win against FC Goa Thursday if it is to enhance its chances of qualification to the Indian Super League playoffs.

Steve Coppell's team has the distinction of having the joint-best defensive and the joint-worst offensive record in the league this season. ATK has conceded just 15 goals in 15 matches. However, it has also scored just 15 goals so far. FC Goa coach Sergio Lobera, meanwhile, has developed his team into a solid, well-oiled unit with an improved defense this season.

A repeat of the goalless result when they last met each other will do no good to either team’s playoff hopes.

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"You come to Goa and see the players they have, they are very good and have a great coach who organizes them very well. But our task is more or less defined. For us to be in control of own destiny, we need to win. Had we come here earlier this season, a draw could have been seen as a good result, but for us tomorrow, realistically a draw is not a good result," said Coppell.

ATK is coming off a disappointing 2-2 draw against FC Pune City where it conceded a late equaliser. In fact, it has leaked late goals in its last three matches. The partnership between Manuel Lanzarote and Edu Garcia in the attacking third will be key to ATK. The duo were lethal against Jamshedpur in Kolkata, but couldn’t do the same in the last game.

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"I think we are facing a great team but I would only like to talk about my players. We have to beat a team, not an individual player. At this moment, I think Edu Garcia has been in great form for them," said Lobera.

ATK has been the most shot-shy team this season, attempting just 9.5 shots per game. Goa is placed at the other end of the list, with 15.5 shots per match, scoring 29 this season. This might well be a case of ‘attack vs defence'.