ISL 2016: Atletico de Kolkata look to continue dominant run against struggling FC Goa
Their gamble in Helder Postiga has not paid off yet as former champions Atletico de Kolkata find themselves in a familiar situation ahead of their Indian Super League (ISL) clash against a desperate FC Goa at Kolkata on Sunday.
Kolkata: Their gamble in Helder Postiga has not paid off yet as former champions Atletico de Kolkata find themselves in a familiar situation ahead of their Indian Super League (ISL) clash against a desperate FC Goa at Kolkata on Sunday.
Despite his 72-minute appearance last season, ATK have retained the Portuguese World Cupper, and this season also, there's not much to write home about the marquee recruit.
He has managed to stretch his appearance to two matches and 99 minutes this season before being ruled out because of a rib injury in their 1-0 win over Kerala Blasters in Kochi.
"Postiga is still not in his best... We are waiting for him to recover as soon as possible," head coach Jose Molina said at the pre-match press conference.
Post-MRI, Postiga's injury had been termed "minor" and that he would "play soon" but the former Spanish World Cupper Molina's confession would mean the situation is tricky.
In Postiga's absence, Iain Hume had stepped up brilliantly to become second highest scorer last season with 11 goals but the the Scottish-born Canadian is yet to find his rhythm with one goal from three outings.
There are more injury worries for ATK with centre back Tiri also not certain to play along with their Botswana midfielder Ofentse Nato.
"Tiri has a problem on his muscle and still not sure whether he would play tomorrow," Molina said about Tiri who sustained a muscle strain in the last game versus Mumbai.
Tiri is likely to be replaced by Portuguese central defender Henrique Sereno who has been signed in place of Pablo Gallardo, who is ruled out due to injury.
ATK (five points) have a solitary win from three matches but have maintained an unbeaten record and Molina insisted they cannot afford to slip up at this juncture.
"I am sure it will be an tough match. We need to win tomorrow. All of us will give our best, we have to keep on improving," Molina said.
Last year's finalists FC Goa, on the other hand, have suffered three successive losses and they would be hungry for a win. Zico's team have scored one goal and conceded six goals and the astute Brazilian is in dire need of a goal scorer. They must now turn to Reinaldo da Cruz Oliveira their top-scorer from last season.
The big Brazilian centre-forward, who has turned out for 18 different clubs including Paris Saint Germain, has a penchant for scoring goals. The Gaur faithfuls would hope that he finds his scoring boots quickly in the match against Kolkata and inspire his team to their first ISL win. The Goans have never won against ATK in six occasions.
Four of them were draws, including two legs of the 2014 semi-finals, which Kolkata won on penalties. The other two matches were won by Atletico de Kolkata, including a 4-0 in their last meeting in Kolkata.
Stewart is freshly arriving from a Rangers squad that finished 2020-21 season unbeaten on its way to the Scottish top division title.
ISL: Former Real Madrid assistant coach Angel Puebla Garia joins SC East Bengal as Manolo Diaz's deputy
With close to two decades of coaching experience, Garcia has worked with the likes of Vicente del Bosque at Real Madrid between 1993-94 and Rafa Benitez in Real Madrid and Real Valladolid between 1994-1996 as both football conditioning and assistant coach.
While the regular weekday fixture will be a 7:30 pm start, the double headers on weekends, which until last season were a 5:30 pm feature, will now move to 9:30 pm start.