ISL 2019-20 Bengaluru FC vs ATK Semi-final (Photo Credit: ISL/News18)
Carles Cuadrat’s men have the division’s best defence, having conceded just 13 goals from 18 matches. After a disappointing couple of seasons, the two-time champions are back in the knockout stages of the ISL. Roy Krishna. The Fijian has scored 14 of the club’s 33 goals this season.
At the pre-match press conference, Bengaluru head coach spoke about the upcoming challenges and said, “I think that they (ATK) are a very good team. I think they prefer to give the ball to their opponents and go for the counter-attack. The semi-finals this season are very interesting because on one side, we have two offensive teams – FC Goa and Chennaiyin FC – who score a lot but at the same time concede a lot of goals, and on the other side, we have two teams – ATK and Bengaluru – who tactically work a lot on their defence. In football, the offensive part largely depends on the individual creativity of the players, but the defensive aspects depend on the players’ ability to implement the coach’s plans.”
The Spaniard also opined that past results won’t have any bearing on the game and noted, “It’s a kind of situation where games from the past won’t have any effect whatsoever. It’s a 180-minute game. We cannot think about the past few games because it’s a different situation.”
After a disappointing couple of seasons, ATK (the two-time champions) are back in the knockout stages of the ISL. Antonio Habas’ return as head coach has had a massive role behind this achievement, with the Spaniard’s tactical precision, both in the attacking and defensive fronts, helping the squad. The former champions conceded just 16 goals in 18 matches – the second-best defensive record in the division after Bengaluru.
At the pre-match press conference, ATK coach Habas spoke about the challenge against Bengaluru and said, “We have to be at our 100% because Bengaluru are a competitive team. They were the last champions and are a solid team. I think it will be a competitive match. Bengaluru are a good team, professional and balanced. They are a very competitive team. We have to respect Bengaluru and after the semi-final, I don’t know who the new champion will be. But now, the champion is Bengaluru.”
Declaring that his players are ready for the challenge at hand, Habas remarked, “Bengaluru will be a tough challenge. I am prepared for the best Bengaluru team. This is my perception of the match against Bengaluru. I await the best possible Bengaluru. Both teams are competitive teams, organized teams, two teams who play football. The two teams have conceded least goals. I expect a tactical match. In my opinion, past scores won’t make a big difference for either team.”