Kolkata: Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) will go into their Indian Super League (ISL) tie against NorthEast United FC (NEUFC) at the Rabindra Sarovar Stadium here on Thursday in a good frame of mind after Iain Hume finally found the back of the net and Javi Lara scored a world class goal in their last game.
Very much in the fray for a semi-final berth, ATK — placed fourth with 13 points from nine matches — will be further boosted by the lack of form of their opponents who after a flying start have plummeted to the rear of the points table due to a string of four reversals.
Hume — who was going through a lean patch — opened the scoring against Delhi Dynamos during ATK’s last match while Lara continued his purple patch with a crisp strike from distance. Though ATK failed to win the tie, with another exquisite goal from Milan Singh and one from Florent Malouda levelling things for the home team, the Jose Molina coached side will know a win can take them to the second spot.
The only worry has been ATK’s backline with Tiri and Henrique Sereno to be blamed for Malouda’s goal which cost the city franchise three points.
ATK will also want to improve their home form where the Sourav Ganguly co-owned franchise have won just once out of four games.
NorthEast on the other hand started their losing streak against Chennaiyin FC last month and since then have lost to ATK and Mumbai City FC at home and FC Goa on the road.
The visitors, therefore, cannot settle for anything less than a win if they want to harbour any hopes of a semi-final place.
NEUFC coach Nelo Vingada will welcome their top-scorer Emiliano Alfaro who was suspended in the last match after picking up his fourth yellow card. NorthEast are languishing second from bottom with 10 points from nine outings.
In their four head-to-heads, NorthEast have won both their meetings in 2015 while ATK bossed both encounters in the first season.