Former champions ATK will bank on captain Manuel Lanzarote to change their fortunes after a stalemate with Mumbai City when they lock horns with FC Goa in an Indian Super League football fixture at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday.
The Gaurs are smarting from a 1-2 home defeat to leader Bengaluru FC. But they still hold the second position in league table with 16 points from eight matches.
ATK on the other hand played out a goalless draw to Mumbai City FC. Placed sixth with three wins from eight matches, Steve Coppell's team will look to return to winning ways at home.
Sergio Lobera's side has scored a total of 22 goals this season, the highest by any team, with Spaniard Ferran Corominas leading the pack.
SQUADS: When Corominas scores, Goa are able to dominate the proceedings. He has scored in five out of the seven matches he has played this season. Corominas did not score against Bengaluru FC in their last match and his side lost 1-2 for their second defeat of the season.
The only other loss for them came against Jamshedpur FC in a match where Corominas was suspended.
The key for the Kolkata outfit will be to negate Corominas, who has scored six of his eight goals from inside the box.
ATK's defence has improved in the last two matches and they have managed to keep two clean sheets.
Before this, they had conceded a goal or more in every match this season.
Their defence will be up for a big test against Goa.
In the last two games, the ATK defence looked stable with Andre Bikey partnering John Johnson at the back.
Coppell has used Gerson Veira as a defensive midfielder alongside Pronay Halder. The Brazilian defender is quite capable of moving up and helping his fellow compatriots in the attacking half, something he showed with his winning header against FC Pune City.
FORMS: ATK have failed to play or get results that'd do justice to their reputation. The two-time champions have looked lacklustre in attack, scoring only seven goals – the joint lowest in the league. ATK have also struggled at creating chances and have taken the least number of shots in the league (68).
However, one silver lining for ATK has been their recent defensive form. With Gerson Vieira, Andre Bikey and John Johnson covering at the back, teams are going to find it incredibly hard to break them down. The defence has amassed the second highest number of interceptions and third highest number of clearances so far. But whether they can face the challenge that Goa brings remains to be seen. ATK have scored seven goals from 29 shots on target. They have the passing accuracy of 62.84 per cent and have kept two clean sheets.
FC Goa have established themselves as a free-scoring side. However, their defensive frailties are still clear for all to see, especially after their loss to Bengaluru FC last week. Goa are in pole position to qualify for the play-offs, but they will have to address their defensive concerns if they hope to go all the way.
Hugo Boumous, who has been an integral part of the attack, will be missing from action due to suspension. Hence, the onus will once again fall on the likes of Edu Bedia and Ferran Corominas to come up with the goods. Looking at their past record, a fine performance from Corominas usually results in a victory for Goa. In the 16 matches where he has scored for the Gaurs, they have gone on to win on 12 of those occasions. Stopping the Spanish magician thus should be ATK’s best bet for a positive result.
FC Goa have scored 22 goals from 44 shots on target. They have the passing accuracy of 77.36 per cent and have kept one clean sheet.
HEAD-TO-HEAD -- ATK and FC Goa have faced each other 10 times. Six of those matches have ended in draw while ATK and Goa have won three and one match respectively.
ATK: Arindam Bhattacharja (GK), Ankit Mukherjee, John Johnson, Andre Bikey, Ricky Lallawmawma, Gerson Vieira, Pronay Halder, Komal Thatal, Manuel Lanzarote, Everton Santos, Balwant Singh
FC GOA: Mohammad Nawaz (GK), Seriton Fernandes, Mourtada Fall, Carlos Pena, Chinglensana Singh, Lenny Rodrigues, Ahmed Jahouh, Brandon Fernandes, Jackichand Singh, Edu Bedia, Ferran Corominas