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ISL 5: Under pressure, ATK hope to return to winning ways against NorthEast

Former champions ATK will be desperate to secure their maiden win of the season when they take on Northeast United in a home fixture of the ongoing Indian Super League (ISL) here on Thursday.

Despite overhauling the side, ATK’s misery continued in their opener against the finalists Kerala Blasters FC as they kicked off their season with a 0-2 defeat against the Blasters in their home ground.

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Whereas NorthEast United FC showed promise in their first game as they shared the spoils with FC Goa in Guwahati on Monday. The highlanders will look to register their first win against ATK tomorrow.

“Playing the first match against FC Goa, that has the same coach, almost same set of players 2-2 was actually a very good finish. Coming to ATK, they have lost their first game” said the Dutch.

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Though he is worried about the recovery of his team in such a short span- “ATK has got rest for 4 days which is needed especially in a weather like this. For my team recovery is more difficult. It is going to be a challenge”- he sounded pretty much satisfied by the team’s performance and hopes to register a win tomorrow against two-time champions.

ATK were subject to huge criticism in the last match where they decided to put in two defensive players- Pronay Halder and Noussair El Maimouni which made the team lack creativity. In their last match against the Blasters, ATK seemed to be struggling to hold possession.

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It was a point of criticism, especially to start Everton Santos as the lone striker instead of Kalu Uche. In the next match also Kalu is probably to be benched as Steve stated “Kalu wasn’t with us over two weeks because of visa issues”. This might prove a threat to the two time champions against the Highlanders who have been seen promising in their ISL 5 opener. They won’t like to warrant criticism like they got for Pronay Halder and Noussair El Maimouni

“If we look at our pre-season, we needed two more weeks to get fit. We have not been really tested in terms of our fitness. So, the result that we got was a good one,” Schattorie had said.”We got a bit of a lucky goal in the first-half. In the second half, we did pretty well except for the last 10-12 minutes. But overall, I am happy with the 2-2.”

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“We have got a lot of work to do. In terms of playing as a team, it was sporadic. This is a brand new collection of players. Within five to six weeks it is difficult to get rhythm. Our problem was keeping the ball,” Coppell said. The Englishman would definitely be under pressure because of some key players in the opponent team tomorrow.

Northeast’s new Nigerian striker Bartholomew Ogbeche struck the equaliser and he will be a key threat against ATK while creative midfielder Rowllin Borges will look to keep up his good work and initiate the moves.


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