Following a disappointing away loss to Kerala Blasters FC in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 season opener, two-time champions ATK will be eager to bounce back and earn maximum points in their next fixture, which sees them host Hyderabad FC at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Friday. For Hyderabad, it will be their first official Hero ISL match and the team will have their own ambitions of starting strong.
Although the 2-1 loss against the Blasters was far from ideal for Antonio Lopez Habas’ men, there were a few positives to take heart from. The team, including the new signings, looked well in tune, giving Eelco Schattorie’s men plenty to think about throughout the 90 minutes. The Kolkata-based side created their fair share of chances and a little more proficiency in front of goal could have very well turned the tide in their favour.
Striker Roy Krishna was particularly impressive and despite having squandered a couple of decent openings, he demonstrated some serious intent in the final third. The likes of Michael soosairaj, Javuer Hernandez and Carl McHugh were impressive as well, with McHugh even scoring from a sensational volley in the match.
Individual errors, though, is something the two-time champions will be looking to eradicate as quickly as possible. The team, particularly the midfield, was slow to react leading up to both goals they conceded, and the focus will be to make sure that team a more aware defensively. Hyderabad possess quite a few silky forwards who can cause some serious problems for the ATK defence should the midfield fail to provide proper screening.
Further up the pitch, the ATK boss will be expecting a bit more of a ruthless edge to his attack. ATK just had one shot on target in the entire match against Kerala, with five of their efforts not even troubling the opposition stopper.
Despite being new to the Hero ISL stage, Hyderabad FC fans can take heart from the fact that most of their players, along with head coach Phil Brown have previous experience of working together.
The squad’s strength will be in the final third with the likes of Marcelo Pereira, Bobo, Marko Stankovic, Laldanmawia Ralte, Robin Singh and Giles Barnes in the squad. In Adil Khan, the team also possesses a potent midfield destroyer and the India international’s role will be crucial when it comes to keeping the ATK attackers at bay.
Matthew Kilgallon and Rafael Gomez represent two experienced campaigners in the backline, with the latter also having played in the Hero ISL back in the 2017-18 campaign. However, there will be some doubts surrounding the Indian contingent in defence. Gurtej Singh and Sahil Panwar impressed in the 2017-18 season but were inconsistence last term, managing only 1700 minutes of game time between the two of them. Mohammed Yasir just has a single appearance to his name, while Asish Rai and Tarif Akhand are yet to make their Hero ISL debuts.
ATK: Arindam Bhattacharya (GK), Pritam Kotal, Carl McHugh, Agustin Iniguez, Prabir Das, Pronay Halder, Jayesh Rane, Edu Garcia, Michael Soosairaj, David Williams, Roy Krishna
Hyderabad FC: Kamaljit Singh (GK), Matthew Kilgallon, Gurtej Singh, Rafael Gomez, Sahil Panwar, Adil Khan, Marko Stankovic, Giles Barnes, Bobo, Marcelo Pereira, Robin Singh