FC Pune City head coach Antonio Habas will face his former employers Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) for the first time when they host the former champions here in an Indian Super League (ISL) football encounter on Sunday.
Antonio Lopez Habas led Atletico de Kolkata to the title in the first ISL edition following it up with a semi-final finish last year. The Spaniard then was roped in by FC Pune City for the third season albeit without any success so far as they languish at the bottom of the table, winning just one game in seven matches.
ATK on the other hand sit pretty at the top half of the points table despite not being at their best. The fact that Helder Postiga returned from injury and helped them win after trailing in the last game against NorthEast United is a major boost for the Kolkata-based outfit.
Interestingly, Postiga was chosen as a marquee player by Habas last season but he could only play the opening match where he scored two goals and limped out with an injury.
Sameehg Doutie and Javi Lara have also shone so far along with goalkeeper Debjit Mazumdar.
Pune will be looking to arrest their run of five winless games and turn the tide knowing another defeat will push them further to the edge of the cliff.
“The team is working hard. They tried to score but they failed but they fought to the last minute. That’s a good thing. Always the same problem though for us.” Habas said after his team was pushed to the bottom following their solitary goal loss against FC Goa.
With a match in hand, Pune City can jump to the sixth position above FC Goa and Kerala Blasters if they defeat ATK. On the other hand, ATK have 12 points from seven matches and will occupy the top spot with a win in Pune at the Balewadi Sports Complex.
“The most important thing is to rest well and then put in a good effort in training and it is going to be a good game. This league is very competitive and Pune is a good team. I know how Antonio (Habas) thinks but it is a tough game for us,” said Postiga.
ATK have retained the maximum number of international players for this season. Habas knows all of them quite well and it will be interesting to see how he sets up his team to thwart the visitors and plot Pune’s resurgence.