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ISL 2019-20: ATK v FC Goa: Preview: Kolkatans look to return to winning ways at home ground

ATK and FC Goa look to consolidate their position

Kolkata, January 17: A merger announcement with the century old club Mohun Bagan likely to boost their fan base, ATK will play with fresh impetus when they face leaders FC Goa in an Indian Super League clash here on Saturday (January 18).

ATK's principal owners R P Sanjiv Goenka Group announced acquiring a majority 80 per cent stake of Mohun Bagan as the merged club, ATK Mohun Bagan, will come into existence in June and will compete in the ISL 2020-21.

For the two-time former ISL champions, it will be a win-win situation as they were struggling to create a fan base in the city of the Big Two -- Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. They will now hope for a broadening of their fan base after the merger. This will be ATK's first match after the merger announcement and the team will look to play with renewed vigour and return to winning ways.

ATK had suffered their first defeat at home, going down to Kerala Blasters 0-1 in an ill-tempered clash in their last outing at the Saltlake Stadium. ATK are now at third place, three points behind table leaders FC Goa.

ATK cannot afford to lose again as the race for the top spot has intensified with an AFC Champions League main round spot in the next season up for grabs for the table-toppers.

Their ISL winning coach Antonio Lopez Habas, who was shown a red card for pushing and shoving Blasters assistant coach Ishfaq Ahmed, will miss the proceedings and his deputy Manuel Perez Cascallan will take charge.

ATK will also look forward to the return of Australian recruit David Williams as he, along with captain Roy Krishna, would look to strike a perfect balance to bring the team back to winning ways.

FC Goa, on the other hand, wear a settled look as they bounced back after their defeat to Bengaluru FC by blanking NorthEast United FC 2-0 at home in their last match.

Coro has been in the thick of action while Brandon Fernandes has manned the midfield beautifully, creating a lot of chances with Hugo Boumous.

In the first leg, FC Goa defeated ATK 2-1 and their Spanish gaffer Sergio Lobera will hope that they continue the momentum without showing any complacency.

"ATK are a very good side. They have many good players and have built a strong team. I expect a tough match but I believe in my players and my team. I think it's possible for us to win the match. Three points from Kolkata will be a big step for us," Lobera said.

"We had beaten ATK at home and I think we are in a good position at the moment. But we have to look towards the future now. My goal is not just win matches but also win the title," Lobera added. They had lost to Bengaluru FC in the final last season.

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Story first published: Friday, January 17, 2020, 18:03 [IST]
Other articles published on Jan 17, 2020
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