ISL 2018: ATK out to claim first win against Bengaluru FC

ATK will look to claim its first win against Bengaluru FC when the two teams clash in the Indian Super League on Wednesday.

ATK's Kalu Uche trains on the eve of his side's clash against Bengaluru FC.

Steve Coppell’s ATK has had a minor turnaround of fortune in its Indian Super League campaign but the side will face a stern test of its credentials when it hosts Bengaluru FC at the Salt Lake stadium here on Wednesday.

ATK got off to a disastrous start with home losses against Kerala Blasters and NorthEast United FC. However, things improved as the Kolkata club then defeated Delhi Dynamos, drew with Jamshedpur and notched its first home by beating defending champions Chennaiyin FC last week.

“A win at home is just another win. It seems that it’s hard to win at home in the ISL. But we won the last game and we’ll look to build a momentum going forward by winning again,” said Coppell on the eve of the match.

Having made a host of changes in personnel over the summer, ATK will be delighted its star forward Kalu Uche got off the mark in the win against Chennaiyin.

Bengaluru FC's attacking duo of Sunil Chhetri and Miku will look to add to their goal tally when they face ATK on Wednesday.   -  ISL

 

Coppell will also be relieved about the fact that his team has broken its goal-scoring drought at home this season against Chennaiyin after failint to score against Kerala and NorthEast.

Another man who got off the mark in ATK colours in the win over Chennaiyin was John Johnson, the former Bengaluru defender who will line up against his team-mates for many-a-years on Wednesday.

Johnson will have critical role to play in keeping clean sheet for his new club. ATK is among the only two teams yet to keep a clean sheet so far this season.

“Every coach loves clean sheets, we work to try and get clean sheets. We have none so far and it’s probably our number one priority tomorrow,” Coppel added. 

Keeping a clean sheet against a Bengaluru side with Miku and Sunil Chhetri in its ranks will not be an easy task. Bengaluru, which finished runner-up last year, has made a flying start under new coach Carles Cuadrat with Miku and Chhetri being among the goals.

Of the six goals the side has scored so far in the league this season, Miku and Chhetri have accounted for all but one.

“They scored a lot of goals last season and the idea is to bring the best out of them this year too,” Cuadrat said about the duo. “They are professionals and they have the hunger to put on a good show,” he added.

While Bengaluru has been strong at home, its been equally successful on the road as well. The side won seven of its nine away games last year and comes into the Kolkata clash on the back of five successive away wins.

Cuadrat will be hoping Bengaluru can maintain its stronghold over ATK with the side having won both the games against the opponent last season. ATK will also look to break a jinx on Wednesday: score its first goal against Bengaluru.