ISL: Upbeat ATK take on Corominas-inspired FC Goa

Kolkata, Jan 2 (IANS): Defending champions ATK will have to be at their best defensively when they take on attack-minded FC Goa in an Indian Super League (ISL) clash at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan here on Wednesday.

Goa are fifth in the points table having 12 points from six matches and have been banking on their prolific Spanish striker Ferran Corominas Telechea who is the joint top-scorer so far this season with eight goals.

The 35-year-old has already recorded two hat-tricks, against Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters, and the ATK rearguard will have to punch above weight if they are to stretch their winning run.

Defensively ATK, coached by former Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur forward Teddy Sheringham, have not been sharp with the likes of Tom Thorpe and Anwar Ali not showing enough steel to hare away oppositions.

The two-time ISL winners have so far shipped seven goals in six outings, languishing in seventh position.

In their last game, marquee striker Robbie Keane helped them log full points after a sordid first half with no goals against wooden spooners Delhi Dynamos at home.

Keane scored a peach of a goal as ATK won 1-0. Goa, in their last tie, saw the three-match winning spree being snapped by FC Pune City and coach Sergio Lobera would be hoping they can get back to winning ways against ATK.

The reversal was Goa's first of the season and the first time they failed to find the back of the net.

"Like I have said before, we lose and win as a team. Had we taken our chances, the game would have been completely different. When we moved up the field, we left a bit of space behind, and they took advantage of that. But I don't see it as a problem with the defence today," Goa's Spaniard head coach Sergio Lobera said.

The 40-year-old, however, wants to take the positives into count ahead of the big match.

"The loss made sure that our feet are grounded. It tells us that we still have a lot of work to do. We have to improve our mistakes, and we have to be capable to grab our chances," Lobera said.

It's not only Keane but the inclusion of former Newcastle United player Ryan Taylor, who was brought in as a replacement for the injured Carl Baker, that has benefited ATK.

In his debut for ATK against at Mumbai, Taylor ran the show from the midfield and also created opportunities in their win over Delhi.

"He (Taylor) has been very good. We lost Carl Baker to injury, and I was very lucky to pick up the phone and call Ryan to come over at the drop of a hat," Sheringham said.

"He could not wait to get over here, and I am delighted with his reaction. He has been fantastic in the midfield. He has played at the top level in the Premier League. He knows the game and he has great qualities as well."

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Title : ISL: Upbeat ATK take on Corominas-inspired FC Goa


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