Pune, Nov 28 (IANS) Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) would be all keyed up to avenge the earlier loss to FC Pune City and log full points to move closer to a semi-final berth while the hosts would hope for an encore and keep their chances alive for the play-offs in what could be a thrilling Indian Super League (ISL) game here Saturday.
Still harbouring a chance of qualifying for the semis, Pune City will go for giant killing Saturday at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium here.
A top priority for ATK would be to strengthen their defence by correcting the errors the team has committed so far in ISL.
However, the Kolkata side would miss midfielder Ofentse Nato, who is under suspension. To offset the absence of the Botswana player, Spaniard Jofre Mateu has to again be the live wire on the field and drum up a fine rhythm with compatriot and team marquee recruit Luis Garcia.
The Ethiopian forward Fikru Teferra has been an untiring workhorse for the visitors and ATK’s top scorer with four strikes so far. However Josemi, the UEFA Champions League winner, believes the game would be difficult, though they are ready for the challenge.
“It will be a difficult game but we have to win. We want to reach the playoffs but losing the game can make it difficult,” Josemi said.
Pune City have won only one of the last five encounters but the win had come against none other than Atletico. The Pune franchise had coasted to a 3-1 win at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.
Neither Greek captain Konstantinos Katsouranis, who has been Pune’s leading scorer so far with three goals, nor the Italian Davide Colomba have been in great form lately for Pune City. Their lacklustre performance has triggered failure in their last few matches.
The combination of the much hyped Italian’s defence has not stood strong either in the last two encounters. While Goa beat Pune 2-0, Chennaiyin routed them 3-1. The only bright light has been the consistency of Arindam Bhattacharya, Pune’s custodian.
Though Pune had won the previous encounter against ATK, they have been quite ordinary with their finishing since then. Maybe that will prompt Italian coach Franco Colomba to play star striker David Trezeguet upfront from the start Saturday.
While Pune will look up to the likes of Colomba and Nigerian Dudu, ATK will try and keep their defence tight and hit them on the counter with the pace of Fikru and Mateu.