Goa: What do you expect when two of the most attacking sides in the Hero Indian Super League lock horns with each other? Plenty of action, drama and definitely goals. That’s all probably a certainty as FC Goa hosts ATK at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium here on Saturday.
The hosts, known for their fluid attacking style, have not exactly been at their best this season due to a variety of factors including injuries and suspensions. Despite that, they have picked up points even from lost causes, coming up with injury-time equalisers on at least three occasions.
The Gaurs find themselves third on the table with 12 points from seven games. Their opponents, ATK, have been brilliant ever since their opening day loss against Kerala Blasters FC. They are unbeaten in six games now and sit on top of the table with 14 points.
The match also sees the two best attacks in the league go head to head. ATK have scored 15 goals while FC Goa have pumped 13 so far.
Goa’s attack is expected to be further boosted by the return of star striker Ferran Corominas. Also, the form of Brandon Fernandes has been key to Sergio Lobera’s team. He was instrumental in Goa’s 1-0 win over Hyderabad in the last game, assisting Manvir Singh’s winner. With four assists, the midfielder has the joint-most assists this season.
“We are playing against FC Goa and not just (Ferran) Corominas. I know Corominas is an important player, but we don’t have any special tactics for him. Normally I don’t choose one player from the opposition or from my team. I understand football is a collective sport and not an individual sport,” said ATK head coach Antonio Habas.
ATK’s attack, however, carries an equal if not a greater threat. Led by Roy Krishna, who leads the scoring charts this season with six goals, and David Williams, ATK have the ability to score at will. Add the creativity of Javier Hernandez and Edu Garcia into the mix, the Goan midfield will have to be at their best.
More importantly, ATK wouldn’t mind Goa enjoying most of the possession, given the pace they have going forward. Antonio Habas’ team are deadly on the counter and when given space to attack, Krishna and Williams are near unstoppable as NorthEast United found out in a 3-0 defeat last time out.
“For me, you will have to defend your goal and give your best. We have good strikers playing in front for us. We need to play hard and keep the concentration for every game, not only for ATK,” said Goa coach Sergio Lobera.
“Sometimes it is not always a very good start to the season. I am very happy now. We are playing good. We are not keeping too many clean sheets, but we will work on that,” he added.
Interestingly, Lobera’s Goa has never lost to an ATK side while Antonio Habas’ ATK team has never lost to Goa. There is so much to look forward to on Saturday.