ISL 2018: Resurgent ATK eyeing maiden win against Bengaluru FC
Hosts ATK will look to build on their winning momentum when they face last year’s runners-up Bengaluru FC in an Indian Super League football fixture at the Saltlake Stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Having suffered back-to-back defeats at home to start their campaign, the new-look ATK have managed to bounce back with two wins and draw. They will now seek to secure their maiden win against Bengaluru.
In their last match, ATK upset defending champions Chennaiyin FC 2-1 in a match which saw their attacking duo of Manuel Lanzarote and Kalu Uche in perfect coordination and according to coach Steve Coppell’s plans.
While Uche struck the first goal, the ATK captain set up John Johnson for the second goal.
Their midfield also did a neat job with Brazilian Everton Santos showing creativity, along with with Pronay Halder. Bengaluru FC will be up against a player who had been a key member of the side since the club’s fairy-tale journey from 2013.
Having switched allegiance to ATK, English defender Johnson who earlier forged a solid partnership with Spain’s Juanan at the heart of Bengaluru’s defence, will now be seen thwarting the duo of Miku and Sunil Chhetri.
“The strategy is just to try and win every game. Bengaluru are a top side and they’ve proved it so far this season. They proved it last season. We look forward to it. We want to play the best teams and see how we cope. So, we are looking forward to that game now,” ATK coach Steve Coppell said.
Speaking about the turnaround, the Englishman said: “Obviously, the first two games we lost and so it was a big win for us. The team is still evolving. You know, it’s still taking shape.
“The more we play, the more players are put under the microscope. The more you see who responds well and who does not respond well, you can shape the team, even more, going forward. It’s happening to me,” he said.
It’s been a tale of two strikers for Bengaluru FC and Chhetri and Miku have been at their sublime best scoring five of the six goals in their unbeaten run from three matches this season. In their last fixture against FC Pune City, the duo were heavily involved as Bengaluru struck three past their opponents to begin their three-match away sojourn.
Last season, Bengaluru were sensational in their away outings, winning seven out of their nine matches in the league stage -- the most by any team. Having won their first away match of the season, Bengaluru FC have now five away wins on the trot.
The Blues will further be boosted by Dimas Delgado’s return to full fitness as the Spaniard midfielder has the ability to pierce resolute defences.
Bengaluru FC also have conceded the least number of goals, only two this season, with Albert Serran and Juanan at the heart of their defence.
Both the teams have seven points each, but ATK have played five matches, compared to Bengaluru’s three.