ISL: Injury-plagued ATK eye revival against Jamshedpur
Kolkata: Ravaged by injuries to key players, off-colour defending champions ATK will look to their bench strength against Jamshedpur FC on Sunday as they try to revive their flailing campaign in Indian Super League (ISL).
ATK suffered their second defeat on the trot against second placed Chennaiyin FC two days ago, leaving them reeling at the eighth position with 12 points in the league table.
To add to their woes, Portuguese midfielder Zequinha and defensive mainstay Ryan Taylor were injured in that game, adding to their injury list.
Zequinha, who was omitted from the starting lineup for the first time this season by interim coach Ashley Westwood, came on in the 41st minute replacing Taylor who got injured himself early in the match.
But as fate would have it, Zequinha also picked up a knock the 60th minute with Westwood later saying thatv while Taylor only has a dead leg and he would have missed the next match due to accumulation of cards anyway, Zequinha is a big blow for the side.
"Zequinha has obviously got a hamstring injury," Westwood said after the 1-2 loss to Chennaiyin.
"When you see somebody sprint and pull back like that, you know instantly that he has got some soft tissue damage. With the severity of it, I would say, you are looking at four weeks (of his being out of contention). Maybe even four to six. If he's lucky, he may get away with three. Obviously, it has come at a bad time with so many games coming in thick and fast," the former Bengaluru FC coach added.
Zequinha has played in all the matches this campaign for the Kolkata side. He has scored two goals and managed an assist.
ATK are already without the services of marquee signing Irishman Robbie Keane who made an impact for the team before getting injured. Add to that, Eugeneson Lyngdoh has already been ruled out for the season.
Fifth-placed Jamshedpur meanwhile, will also look to get back to winning ways after losing 1-2 away to FC Pune City.
In that game, the pair of Emiliano Alfaro and Marcelinho troubled the Jamshedpur defence, forcing Jamshedpur coach Steve Coppell to admit his defenders struggled to contain the attacking pair in the latter half.
"They moved Marcelinho up to a wider position, in isolation. When he was in the middle, we could crowd around him and (Emiliano) Alfaro. But when he went out wide, it became difficult to contain him," he explained.
Coppell had complained of cramped scheduling before the Pune game. Jamshedpur will be playing their fourth game in the span of 10 days on Sunday against ATK.