After a goalless first-leg semi-final clash between Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) and FC Goa, both teams will again take the field on Wednesday with everything to play for — the winner of the tie going through to the Indian Super League (ISL) football tournament final in Mumbai Dec 20.
Having managed to hold Goa to a barren draw without five of the first team members, including reliable defender Arnab Mandal and the talismanic Ethiopian striker Fikru Teferra, in the first leg Sunday, the ATK team management is still keeping its fingers crossed about fielding a full-strength side on Wednesday.
“We would know about the availability of the players after today’s practice session,” a team official told on Tuesday.
In contrast, Goa played almost at full strength team against ATK in the first leg, with Portuguese Bruno Pinheiro sitting out a one-match suspension following a red card offence.
Attacking midfielder Pinheiro is certain to be back in the first eleven Wednesday, giving a thrust to the forward line.
Atletico’s recent form would be another worry for the visitors as the side has managed only one win in the last 11 games. On the other hand, the Goans – coached by the legendary Brazilian footballer Zico – have logged six victories in 11 matches.
While ATK lost their rhythm midway through the league and are still searching for it, Goa shot up to the second spot in the round robin league after once languishing languishing at the bottom.
Coach Jose Antonio Habas would hope for a good show from midfielder Cavin Lobo, who returned to the pitch Sunday as a substitute after missing ten matches due to a hamstring injury.