Kolkata: A resurgent ATK would look to register a first home win this season when they take on bottom-placed FC Pune City in a seventh-round Indian Super League clash here on Saturday. ATK are seventh in the ISL standings. The two-time champions suffered their third home defeat last week when they went down 2-1 to Bengaluru FC. The city-based outfit have only managed to muster seven points from their six outings. ATK will also hope forward Kalu Uche is fit to start the game.
The Nigerian had sustained a muscle injury during the team’s 1-2 loss to Bengaluru FC in their previous outing. Uche had to be stretchered off in the first-half and the team not having a proper replacement was termed as “an issue” by coach Steve Coppell. Steve Coppell’s side have been inconsistent so far and their star-studded attack force which consists of players like Manuel Lanzarote, Kalu Uche and Balwant Singh are yet to fire on all cylinders. Like any other Coppell’s team, ATK have not been flamboyant in the attacking third but unlike some of the other teams he has managed in India, they have failed to keep a clean sheet this season.
For the hosts, Under-17 World Cupper Komal Thatal has been impressive and in the last outing, broke through the high profile Bengaluru FC defence to give ATK the lead. Coming to Pune, they got off to the worst possible start to their ISL campaign this time. They lost four out of their first six matches. Deemed as title favourites before the start of the season, Pune have so far failed to live up to the expectations, leaking 15 goals in six matches. Off the field, Pune had problems too with Marcos Paqueta, who was roped in to replace coach Ranko Popovic, leaving within a week to join Brazilian club Botafogo.
Pune then signed former Delhi Dynamos manager Miguel Angel Portugal but the Spaniard departed after a hat-trick of losses. Technical director Pradyum Reddy has since been made the interim manager but they are still in search of their first win, having conceded 15 goals in six matches. Enjoying a 5-1 head-to head record against ATK, the Stallions will look to continue their dominance over the Kolkata side.