Rejuvenated ATK take on Pune City

Atletico de Kolkata will be bolstered by the return of their mercurial forward Fikru Teferra and coach Antonio Lopez Habas when the league leaders face FC Pune City in their Indian Super League match, here on Friday.

The AIFF disciplinary committee reduced the ban on Habas to two matches for lack of evidence so the Spanish manager will return to the turf along with the Ethiopian forward, much to the home team’s delight.

In absence of the duo, ATK dropped four possible points, two at home and two away, as Fikru’s spirited raids and Habas’ strategy from the sidelines were sorely missed.

ATK were on the verge a fine win in Chennai from Luis Garcia’s spot kick as they led till the regulation 90 minutes but an unnecessary tackle by Kingshuk Debnath inside the Chennai box robbed them three points.

ATK also received a big jolt after their inspirational midfielder Jofre Mateu, who had put on an effective combination with Garcia, was sent off after being shown a second yellow, something that could have been avoided if the Spaniard was replaced following his first caution.

Habas’ absence also meant that ATK’s short and effective passing was missed as the team would look forward to their first win at the Yuva Bharati Krirangan since their 2-0 victory over Mumbai City FC in the tournament opener on October 12.

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