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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Indian Super League: ATK host Delhi Dynamos in clash of unsettled teams

No pressure, says ATK coach Teddy Sheringham while Delhi Dynamos promise turnaround ahead of Saturday’s Indian Super League clash.

indian-super-league-2017 Updated: Dec 22, 2017 21:33 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Delhi Dynamos players warm-up ahead of their Indian Super League clash against ATK in Kolkata on Saturday.
Delhi Dynamos players warm-up ahead of their Indian Super League clash against ATK in Kolkata on Saturday.(ISL)

Having overhauled the players’ roster and coaching staff, unsettled teams ATK and Delhi Dynamos can’t draw inspiration from the past.

The teams which meet here on Saturday have little in common with the ones that made the semi-finals last term before ATK went on to win their second Indian Super League (ISL) title.

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But the gap between the top and the bottom is far from yawning yet. On three points, if Delhi Dynamos win, they will move up two places to eighth while victory for ATK could take them to within touching distance of the top six.

ATK coach asked to leave

Perhaps that is why ATK coach Teddy Sheringham said they are under no pressure. Media commitments over, Sheringham watched Mohun Bagan train at a Salt Lake stadium practice pitch and inquired about a golf tournament here where he played the Pro-Am on Wednesday.

Till he was asked to leave by match commissioner Dinesh Nair that is because Delhi Dynamos were training at the adjacent pitch.

And though he said ATK would be more motivated and confident, assistant coach Shakti Chauhan promised that “you will see a different Delhi Dynamos tomorrow.”

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So far though, anything that could go wrong for them has, making Delhi Dynamos seem like the definition of Murphy’s Law. Goalie Albino Gomes is out injured, for how long Chauhan couldn’t say, attacking player Kalu Uche is unavailable for Saturday, defender Gabriel Cichero is suspended as is head coach Miguel Portugal.

And Delhi Dynamos have come here having lost their last four games after beginning with an away win.

“We have been unlucky,” said Chauhan before accepting that “some poor decision making too has contributed” to them being at the bottom of the 10-team standings.

Keane not firing

Things haven’t gone swimmingly for ATK either. Never in the ISL have they been last and though the win against Mumbai City FC helped them move up, it isn’t really like Christmas has come early for the two-time champions. ATK’s only other home game, a 1-4 loss to FC Pune City, was their worst defeat in Kolkata. In two losses, ATK have shipped seven goals. And star signing Robbie Keane is still looking for his first goal in India.

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But they finally won to move to five points from five games and Sheringham said “we now need to do it regularly if we want to make something out of this league.”

Sheringham didn’t say it because he didn’t want to help the opposition, but ATK, a source in the team said, have no major injury worries barring Eugeneson Lyngdoh who has missed the last two games.

First Published: Dec 22, 2017 20:09 IST