ATK and Jamshedpur FC will look to build on their strong starts to the Indian Super League (ISL) season when they face off at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan here on Saturday.
Jamshedpur, unbeaten in the league so far, has made its best-ever start in what is its third ISL campaign. While ATK has conceded only two goals so far, its attack has been on fire. Led by David Williams, who has grabbed the limelight with three goals, and supported by Roy Krishna, ATK’s attack has accounted for seven goals so far, a club record at this stage.
“We have to respect every side now. Jamshedpur is a good team and has a good coach too. We have to play very carefully, we can’t target any particular player,” said ATK head coach Antonio Lopez Habas. The striking feature for ATK has been its tactical flexibility.
After an attacking display against Hyderabad FC at home which it won 5-0, Habas’ side showed defensive discipline in its 1-0 win over Chennaiyin FC in an away fixture. “Football is about attacking and defending. Maybe, it (Chennaiyin match) wasn’t the best for ATK, but we won it. Sometimes, it’s less important to play well and win games,” said Habas.
The pace and clinical nature of its attack, which is supported by the likes of Javier Hernandez and Michael Soosairaj, has the ability to hurt any team. Jamshedpur will be aware of that particular danger and will count on its defence to deal with the threat.
Antonio Iriondo’s team loves to get on the ball, with the likes of Piti and Aitor Monroy controlling the game from midfield. Jamshedpur itself has an in-form striker in Sergio Castel. The 24-year-old has impressed already and will look to continue his good start to life in ISL.
“We know we’re playing against a great team. It’s a very serious side and when I say serious, it’s like it knows the way it wants to win. It has a lot of quality. I know the rival coach and it’s a team that gets into crazy matches,” said the Jamshedpur coach. While Jamshedpur’s foreign players have impressed, its Indian youngsters have not been far behind. The likes of Farukh Choudhary and Aniket Jadhav carry a goal threat too.