Kolkata, Nov 21 (IANS) It will be a test of character for Antonio Lopez Habas’ Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) as they face an upbeat FC Goa in an Indian Super League (ISL) encounter here on Sunday. The last time these two sides locked horns in Goa, they finished with a 1-1 draw. And with just three games left for the defending champions, ATK too would be ready to throw in heavy artillery so that they log full points and make the final four to qualify for the semifinals.
Goa are presently the league leaders with 18 points from 10 outings, Atletico are third on the leaderboard, gleaning 17 points from 11 games. “I am not going to talk about play-offs. We will take one game at a time. Next is FC Goa, so we would like to concentrate on them,” Habas had said on Wednesday after beating Chennaiyin FC 2-1 at the Salt Lake Stadium here.
Goa were in rampaging form in their last game beating Mumbai City FC 7-0, but Habas is confident his team will have a plan to stop the Goan attackers. “I cannot do magic but I can plan and that is what we will do against FC Goa,” he said. The “planning” that Habas was talking about might lead to attacks being answered back with counter-attacks which ATK are well known for. On the defence front, Atletico have been well-knit, though they have leaked goals at crucial times.
The Spanish tactician might also want to play two strikers upfront in the form of Iain Hume and Dejan Lekic. Marquee Helder Postiga might get a look in if only he has recovered from his hamstring injury. On the other hand, the 7-0 win must have boosted Goa’s confidence like never before and they just might think that no huddle will be difficult to pass.
But then again it is a fight against the defending champions. Goa’s Nigerian striker Dudu Omagbemi, who has played for city heavyweights East Bengal, may prove to be a big challenge for ATK rear guards. Omagbemi was in dazzling form in his season debut with a hat-trick against Mumbai in the last game and would want to repeat his success against ATK.
The Atletico defenders also need to be on their toes to keep the other Goan attackers at bay, especially the likes of Thongkhosiem Haokip and Brazilian midfileder Leonardo Moura, the latter having become the first player to complete 500 passes in the league. Overall, the game will also be a battle of the two coaches Habas and Brazilian legend Zico, who would just not give up without a fight.