Guwahati: Having earned their first points of the season with a dramatic win over Chennaiyin FC in their previous match, NorthEast United take on defending champions Atletico Kolkata in their third straight home match of the Indian Super League football here on Friday.
NorthEast scored a 2-0 win over Chennaiyin in an ill-tempered match with the goals coming in the last minute of normal time and in the injury period, and they hardly had any time to savour the dramatic victory.
Having lost three matches in a row and looking a bit rattled, coach Cesar Farias had to pull a rabbit out of his hat and he managed to do that despite having several players injured. Despite the win, NorthEast are still at the bottom of the eight-team league table.
Marquee player Simao Sabrosa played his first match for NorthEast and scored a penalty, that too under pressure. With a victory under their belt, Farias believes things will now fall into place.
"I am happy with the performance of my players against Chennaiyin FC. We now have a crucial game coming up next against the defending champions and we need to put in our best effort. I hope it will be a packed house on that day," said Farias.
Sabrosa, the former Portugal and Barcelona winger, would be looking to spark his team's revival against the defending champions tomorrow.
Atletico de Kolkata are also a strong side and Antonio Lopez Habas' teams are always difficult to break down. Having lost to FC Pune City in their last match -- an unusual setback for the defending champions -- Kolkata will be keen to make amends.
"We have to have confidence in the team because before the game (against Pune), Atletico de Kolkata was the only one team unbeaten. I know people will say this was bad and catastrophic, but the idea is to get to the final four. We will battle games mentally and physically," said Habas.
The coach did not seem happy with his players after the game in which FC Pune City scored in the second minute and then held on resolutely for the remainder of the match.
Habas admitted his "mistake" in selecting the line-up against Pune and gave enough indications to suggest there will be changes.