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Bengaluru FC eye double against ATK for their first Indian Super League hat-trick

Bengaluru FC, who have won their last two games, take on ATK in an Indian Super League (ISL) match on Saturday.

football Updated: Feb 02, 2018 21:20 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
ISL,Indian Super League,Bengaluru FC
For Bengaluru FC, it will be a match to add to ATK’s misery and stay clear of Chennaiyin FC -- who are second with 23 points in the Indian Super League (ISL). (ISL / SPORTZPICS)

Bengaluru FC begin February aiming for a first in the fourth edition of the Indian Super League (ISL). “We haven’t won three games in a row. That means we have not been consistent enough. Our first target is to do that,” said coach Albert Roca ahead of Saturday night’s game against defending champions ATK here.

It will have to happen without Harmanjot Khabra who is suspended and with Dimas Delgado on the bench because he is recovering from injury. Bengaluru FC have won two matches in a row thrice and Roca said doing the double on ATK --- like FC Pune City and Chennaiyin FC --- would help them consolidate their position in the top four.

(Read | ISL 2017-18: Mumbai City FC lose to Jamshedpur FC as horror run at home continues)

“That is the first objective this season,” said the Spaniard. On 24 points from 12 games, the visiting team is here after beating Mumbai City FC and NorthEast United. ATK didn’t win any of their three games in November and their most productive run this season has been two successive wins and a draw from four games in December. They go into their 13th match on exactly half the points as Bengaluru FC and on the back of successive home losses.

(Read | I-League: Aizawl FC confident ahead of clash against Chennai City FC)

Ashley Westwood, in temporary charge of the team, said marquee Robbie Keane has begun training but may miss his fifth straight game due to injury. Ditto defender Tom Thorpe but utility player Ryan Taylor is available after a suspension for having toted up four yellow cards.

(Read | I-League: Churchill Brothers beat Minerva Punjab FC 2-1)

“We started with a string of away games and suffered a lot due to injuries. Bengaluru FC look much more settled but we have had to chop and change a lot. We know what we have to do and so we have to keep trying,” said Westwood.

And try hard ATK will, said Sunil Chhetri, who along with Micu has scored 17 of their 23 goals. “The Ashley we knew at Bengaluru demanded hard work from players. If we won the I-League in our first attempt, it was only because of hard work that Ashley put us through,” said Chhetri.

One of the things ATK have to do is score goals: at eight they are joint-last with NEUFC. “Usually at this stage of the competition, ATK would have more goals,” he said. The ATK Westwood was referring to was hugely influenced by Spanish giants Atletico de Madrid. To say that a lot was lost in transition from the Spanish to the English way would be understating the obvious.

First Published: Feb 02, 2018 21:20 IST