Kolkata: After being propelled to the top of the league table by the likes of Sameegh Doutie and Iain Hume, a confident Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) side will face fifth-placed FC Pune City in an Indian Super League (ISL) encounter at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Friday.
The defending champions have been in a great run of form in the last two weeks as they have been unbeaten in their last four matches, among which they have won three. The streak has helped them bag 10 points from four games which is invaluable at this stage of the tournament.
South African Doutie has been Atletico's star in the previous two outings. He has quite easily skipped past challenges and planted in delightful crosses at the feet of the strikers and to top it all he has scored thrice.
The 26-year-old's brace along with strikes from Borja Fernandez and Hume sunk the mighty Goans too in the last game, where ATK handed them a 0-4 defeat.
But David Platt coached Pune City will very well know that ATK have never beaten them. Pune have won twice and drawn once with the champions. And that is what Platt will precisely tell his boys before the game for a morale boost.
The last time they met in Pune, it was Jackichand Singh's early strike that had won the then hosts the contest, but now the tables are likely to turn as Pune visit Kolkata and play in front of a large and vociferous crowd here.
Platt would ideally want his top guns to fire which includes the likes of former Chelsea star Adrian Mutu and Turkish international Tuncay Sanli. The midfield looks strong too with Didier Zakora backed up by the likes of Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Jackichand.
Atletico will in all probability go all out in the game as a win here will ensure them a place in the top-4, and coach Antonio Lopez Habas will once again rely on the Doutie-Hume duo to deliver the goods.
It remains to be seen whether or when does Serbian striker Dejan Lekic get a start for Atletico. If Helder Postiga has got back to full fitness he might play the game as well.
The points from the game would help the sides inch closer to the semis and therefore no one will leave any stone unturned to log in full points.