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Sports


ATK to host Chennaiyin FC tomorrow in Hero ISL

ATK to host Chennaiyin FC tomorrow in Hero ISL

Kolkata, Feb 15 (UNI) ATK will look to extend their winning streak and reclaim pole position

when they host Chennaiyin FC in a Hero Indian Super League clash at the Vivekananda

Yuba Bharati Krirangan here on Sunday.

It promises to be an enthralling affair as both teams will be fighting for three points,

although for different reasons. Having already qualified, ATK have their eyes on the AFC

Champions League spot while Chennaiyin’s eyes will be trained on a berth in the play-offs.

They are currently sixth on the table with 22 points but a win will help them leapfrog

Odisha FC in fifth spot.

If ATK defeat Chennaiyin, it will be their fifth win on the trot. All eyes will be on Roy

Krishna who has been in stellar form for the two-time champions. The Fijian is joint top

of the scoring charts with 13 goals to his name and a hat-trick against Odisha FC in

the previous match has only bolstered his confidence. Chennaiyin's defensive pairing

of Eli Sabia and Lucian Goian will have their hands full in containing the marksman.

David Williams has regained full match fitness and his partnership with Krishna will

be key. They feed off each other's energy and their understanding and combination in

the attacking third is a headache for any defence. To support them, Prabir Das and

Michael Soosairaj will be operating in the wide areas and will try to stretch the pitch

as wide as possible.

"We are in a good moment and the performance is positive for us but we have to

continue playing. Now our opponents are Chennaiyin and we need to play to win.

This will be a good game because both teams play good football. The target is the

same as for every game – win the next game," said ATK coach Antonio Habas.

Chennaiyin's answer to Krishna will be their Lithuanian striker Nerijus Valskis who

is hot on the heels of Krishna with 12 goals.

The resurgence of the visitors under Owen Coyle has been largely due to Valskis'

heroics in front of goal. Not only has he been finding the net regularly, but with five

assists, he has also played the role of a provider to perfection. In the absence of

Augustine Iniguez, ATK's backline must remain on their toes to keep a check on the

prolific striker.

"ATK are trying to get the three points to finish on top of the table and we are trying

for the three points to get closer to the top-four. They are a good team and I’m sure

they know that we are a good team with good players. We have shown that when we

are at our very best, we can cause problems for any defence and that’s what we will

look to do. We respect ATK but we don’t fear coming here. We have to be at our best

to win the game," said Chennaiyin coach Owen Coyle.

They will be boosted by Anirudh Thapa's return from suspension while Germanpreet

Singh is also available for selection after a lengthy layoff. They will, however, miss the

services of Thoi Singh after the winger received marching orders against Bengaluru FC.

With fate still in their own hands and coming into the match at the back of five

unbeaten games, there is little doubt that Chennaiyin will give their all to spoil ATK's

party at home.

UNI BM

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