Image Courtesy: Indian Super League Media Team
As Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) travel to their neighbouring state of Assam, to face North East United FC (NEUFC), the defending champion know that they have to be cautious, as they would are missing a number of key players due to injuries.
Marquee player Helder Postiga, and forward Baljit Sahni have been on the sidelines for a while now, since they got injured in ATKa s first and second matches, respectively. Although coach Antonio Lopez Habas confirmed that Baljit has made a swift recovery, he also said that Postiga has been flown back to Portugal for treatment.
It is not yet clear how long the Portuguese striker would be away from action, and the team is awaiting a medical report from the Iberian nation, which would make things more lucid.
a We’ve had some problems with injuries, but all the teams are suffering from it,” Habas was quoted saying in a pre-match press release. “As you know [Helder] Postiga is suffering from a serious injury, Baljit [Sahni] had an injury scare but now we think he’s fine. We’ve suffered from injuries but picking a squad won’t be a problem.a
However, in what is to be their biggest blow ahead of the match, ATK are set to miss out on the services of Arata Izumi, who is one of the main creative forces behind the team.
a The key problem was the absence of Arata [who was substituted in the second half]. He’s a key player for us and because of his injury he is not travelling with the team,” confirmed Habas.
Meanwhile, NEUFC have successfully ended their run of three straight losses, with a respectable 2-0 win over a strong Chennaiyin FC, and would be riding high on confidence, as they have finally managed their first win of the season.
Although Chennaiyin FC were a rather depleted side, when they faced NEUFC, as manager Marco Materazzi had decided to rest forward Stiven Mendoza and playmaker Elano, the win acted as a huge morale-booster for the side. However, ATK have always been a well-organised side, and NEUFC have to be weary of that, when they take on the Kolkata-based team.
a We got a big win in our last match against Chennai. It was a good win for us. We want to keep the momentum with us. All the players are available for the next game,” . said NEUFC assistant coach Santosh Kashyap. “Every team is fighting for a place in the top four, the gaps between teams are also very small. Any team winning two matches in succession will move up to the top four.”
Having the winning momentum, and a full roster of players to choose from, NEUFC would surely be looking to get their second win of the season, on the board. However, a win would only take them up to fifth (fourth if they win by more than five goals) on the table, ahead of Chennaiyin FC. It would be interesting to see how defensively ATK set up, in the absence of their key players.