Having climbed to the top of the standings after their win over Kerala Blasters FC, ISL defending champions Atletico de Kolkata are now looking forward to the return of several of their key players for their next match in Pune, coach Antonio Habas on Wednesday said.
“I’m waiting for the likes of Nato, Arnab to return when we travel to Pune. I did not have much option today with only 18 players to choose from. But I’m happy with the performance,” Habas said in the post match conference.
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A depleted ATK rode on Izumi Arata and Javier Lara’s strikes to beat Kerala Blasters FC 2-1 in their first home match this season as they next take on FC Pune City on October 17.
Already down with injury to marquee player Helder Postiga and suspension to Baljit Sahni, ATK further missed the services of Botswana midfielder Ofentse Nato and the Indian duo of Arnab Mondal and Rino Anto who were on national duties in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
ATK’s defence was seen crumbling once again in the later stages of the match when KBFC pulled one back through Chris Dagnall in the 80th minute.
“I was happy in the first 75 minutes but not in the last 15 minutes. We should look to keep scoring,” Habas said.
Arata, who once again gave the lead, had a collision with a KBFC defender and was replaced in the 58th minute with Clifford Miranda.
Habas however said there’s no injury worry.
“He is absolutely fine. We did not want to take any chances so we brought on the substitute.”
KBFC coach Peter Taylor said they started badly in both the halves but went on to put pressure on and ended well.
“ATK are a very strong side and they held the possession but it’s positive with the way we came back.”