KOLKATA, Nov 6 - As both defending champions Atletico de Kolkata and North East United FC step into the second and most important half of the Hero ISL-2 here at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday, the combatants will like to take their best foot forward in the eighth round contest.
Having played seven matches without much of encouraging results, NEUFC will pitch for full points against a side that has mixed luck so far at home. Injuries have been plaguing most of the teams in this tournament, NEU and ATK were no exception.
With 10 points from three wins and a draw, ATK will not only like to avenge the away defeat at the hands of NEUFC but also bring about a turn around in their fortunes. Team's coach Antonio Habas all the players are available for selection except for marquee player Helder Postiga, Josemi and Javi Lara. Postiga is expected here soon but the other two availability till the end of the tournament is doubtful.
The return of Izumi Arata to the midfield and Valdo to the striking zone will boost the team�s confidence but it is to be seen how well the team will combine against NEUFC. But what should worry the Spanish coach the way his team capitulates in the final 10 minutes or so. The team has been conceding goals and some of the defeats were due to poor defence in the final minutes.
The visiting team's coach Farias seemed happy to snatch a point from Delhi Dynamos FC and hoped his team would carry the away result to Saturday's match as well. Farias' team began with three straight losses before pulling back two home wins. A big-margin loss to Mumbai City FC in Mumbai shattered the team's morale but the team regrouped to hold Delhi.
The good news for both ATK and NEUFC is that both will be playing four home matches in the second leg of the tournament. In fact, ATK will play all the last four games at home which will be huge advantage. NEUFC too will play two home game before going to Goa and return to complete the league.
The visitors decided to skip practice on the eve of the match while ATK sweated out at the main venue this evening.