ISL 2015: Atletico de Kolkata ready to take on FC Pune City, Preview

kolkata fc pune cityKOLKATA: Atletico de Kolkata will become the first team to qualify for the semi-finals of Hero Indian Super League if they get the better of FC Pune City in Kolkata on Friday.

Atletico de Kolkata appeared to falter midway into the league with their inability to string decent results together. But the defending champions have hauled themselves back into contention, now leading the ISL table with 20 points from 12 matches.

Should they get another three points from their next match, they will qualify with a match in hand but coach Antonio Lopez Habas knows nothing is as easy as it seems in the league.

“For me, the next match is always the most important one. Against FC Pune City, we have to play to our potential. We have to give maximum effort and show maximum discipline. It’s not going to be easy,” said Habas during the pre-match media briefing.

Kolkata lost narrowly to FC Pune City in the first leg away in Pune and also lost to them last year at home.

Asked to specify, in his opinion, the number of points that are needed for a team to qualify for the semi-finals, Habas said, “for me the magic number is to get three points from the next match.”

Last year, Kerala Blasters had qualified as the fourth-best placed team with 19 points but teams know that this time around, they will need a lot more to be assured of a place in the play-off.

FC Pune City set the pace in the early stages of the league but now find themselves in sixth spot with 15 points from 11 matches. FC Pune City surely have potential to qualify but coach David Platt said they have to win all their remaining three games to be assured.

“It’s a challenge. We have three games left. We have to be consistent and organized,” said Platt.

Platt was in the stands and watched Kolkata leave FC Goa in tatters with a 4-0 victory and would have studied how to break down the opponents. Significantly, the visitors have not done well in any of their away matches and will have to improve their record if they are entertaining any hopes of qualifying.

Two of Pune’s last three matches will be played away from home, where they have not as yet recorded a victory, and the final game at home against Chennaiyin FC on December 5 could potentially be a decider.