Battle moves to Kolkata as Bengaluru, ATK clash again

Cuadrat Expects Tough Second Leg Despite Advantage As Kolkata Side Stand Between Blues And A Spot In The ISL Final

Kolkata: Bengaluru FC will take the pitch at the Salt Lake Stadium armed with a win in the first leg, but will exercise caution as they prepare to ride a tough challenge from ATK when the two sides go to battle for a place in the final of the Indian Super League, in Kolkata, on Sunday. A Deshorn Brown strike was the difference when the two sides met at the Kanteerava Stadium a week ago, and Cuadrat refused to divulge his tactics, while maintaining that qualification to the ISL final remained the key objective, with a one-goal cushion to rely on.

“It was important to score in the first leg and also not concede, which gives us an advantage going to Kolkata, but we are under no impression that the second leg will pan out in a similar way. ATK have a good record at their stadium and they have players in their ranks who can make a difference. I don’t want to talk too much about our tactics, but what is clear is that my team will look to get a result that will take us to the final of the Indian Super League for a third season in a row,” said Cuadrat, addressing the media on the eve of the game.

While the hosts have relied on one of Roy Krishna or David Williams to turn up with the goods, Cuadrat’s Bengaluru side have done well to quell their forays over the three games they’ve played against each other so far this campaign.

“We are expecting a tough game, and it’s the most important game for Kolkata in the last three seasons. For us, it’s the opportunity to make a third ISL final in that time, and to make sure that the work we did at the Kanteerava last week is enough,” added Cuadrat.

Bengaluru will be without defender Nishu Kumar, who was shown a red card for a challenge on Roy Krishna late in the game in Bengaluru. Fellow defender Albert Serran too had his game cut short but with what looked a strained groin and Cuadrat said that the Spaniard’s inclusion in the squad for Sunday would be a call that’s left late.

“Nishu, of course, is a big miss because he has been among the consistent performers in the side. He took one for the team, and it’s unfortunate that he will not be able to play but I am confident in the qualities of the other players I have, who can fill in that role. Albert is working hard with our medical staff to be ready in time for the game so we will be taking that decision later,” said Cuadrat.

While Bengaluru have struggled to maintain consistency on the road, ATK will bank on their form at the YBK, having won six of their nine games at the venue since the start of the season.

The game kicks off at 7.30 and will be telecast live on the STAR Sports network and HotStar.