Preview: Defending champions ATK will look to get back to winning ways while FC Pune City have to recover from their home defeat when the two sides lock horns in the Indian Super League (ISL) season four tie at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Sunday.
The revamped Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, which recently hosted 11 matches of the FIFA U-17 World Cup including the final on 28 October between England and Spain, will offer both sides more options wide of the pitch enhancing wing play.
In 2016, when Spanish coach Jose Molina helped ATK win the ISL, they played their home games at the Rabindra Sarovar Stadium which is smaller in size. Renovation work for the World Cup was in full swing at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan back then.
Coming to the game, sans marquee signing Robbie Keane, a former Tottenham Hotspur veteran and Republic of Ireland captain who is out due to injury, ATK were held to a goalless draw by Kerala Blasters in Kochi.
Pune, on the other hand, fought hard to come back from being 3-0 down by 65 minutes against Delhi Dynamos at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune, but eventually lost 2-3.
New recruit Emiliano Alfaro, who netted five goals for NorthEast United last season, was on the scoresheet for the Ranko Popovic-coached side who finished sixth last season.
Pune also lost midfielder Jewel Raja to injury in that game, which the coach later described as an influential factor in the match's outcome.
Pune will have to work on their defence which looked to have gone off to sleep when Delhi scored the first two goals.
"The second half we made some bad mistakes and the first two goals were like gifts," Popovic had said after the Delhi defeat.
Pune also have the dangerous Marcelinho who finished as the top-scorer for Delhi last season with 10 goals.
The home side, without the services of Keane, twice champions ATK looked blunt up front.
Finnish striker Njazi Kuqi and later Robin Singh who came on from the bench looked wayward. Coach Teddy Sheringham can be pleased with the way his side defended with the likes of Keegan Pereira doing really well at the left-back position.
"The one thing we need to improve on is winning," Robin had said at a press conference prior to this game.
ATK are also missing the services of English midfielder Carl Becker who is out due to injury.
In the last four meetings of the two sides, Pune have won twice with ATK winning at home in 2015. Their last meeting ended in a goalless draw on December 2 last year.
With inputs from IANS
Published Date: Nov 26, 2017 17:35 PM | Updated Date: Nov 26, 2017 19:30 PM