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ATK, Chennai City FC aim to start afresh in Super Cup 2018

ATK will aim to start afresh when they hit the pitch against Chennai City FC in the final qualifier match of the Super Cup 2018 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Friday.

football Updated: Mar 15, 2018 18:14 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Bhubaneswar
ATK face Chennai City FC in their Super Cup 2018 qualification play-off encounter on Friday.(ISL / SPORTZPICS)

Their Indian Super League campaign having ended in a disaster, ATK would look to start afresh when they take on Chennai City FC in a qualifying round match of the Super Cup football tournament in Bhubaneswar on Friday.

The ATK, two-time champions of ISL, finished ninth in the 10-team league this year, picking up just four wins out of 18 matches while losing 10 games. But, the Kolkata based side would look to assert that they are still a competitive side with a good show in the inaugural Super Cup being held at Kalinga Stadium.

Chennai City, on the other hand, had finished eighth out of 10 teams in the I-League. They would want to prove that their stunning wins over eventual I-League champions Minerva Punjab FC and Mohun Bagan were no fluke.

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“Chennai City FC have shown their capability on the field and we have to be very cautious. Otherwise, we might have to bow out of the tournament on the first day itself,” ATK assistant coach Bastab Ray said at the pre-match press conference.

Winger Jayesh Rane said that the entire team was eager to end the season on a positive note.

“We haven’t had an impressive season. We were plagued with injuries. This is going to be another test and we have to make this opportunity count,” Rane said.

On the other hand, Mohammed Akbar, the newly-appointed head coach of Chennai City FC, asked his team to make a “new beginning”.

“It would be wrong to contemplate tomorrow’s result from the I-League’s outcome. Everyone will start from scratch and we have the potential to swing the result in our way. It’s a new challenge and we’re ready for it,” Akbar said.

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The Chennai-based outfit’s coach added that they have a special plan for everyone, especially ATK skipper Robbie Keane.

“Robbie Keane is a terrific player who can wreak havoc. He might draw two defenders and that might leave open space for others to attack. We have to be on our toes all through.”

The qualifiers of the tournament are being played between teams which finished between 7th and 10th in the ISL and I-League. The four winners will proceed to the final round of the tournament which kicks off from March 31.

First Published: Mar 15, 2018 18:14 IST