Kolkata: Stung by a loss to FC Pune City, leaders Atletico de Kolkata will look to regroup quickly and return to winning ways when they take on Chennaiyin FC in a top of the table clash in the Indian Super League here Friday.
ATK would look to avenge their loss in the first leg tie in Chennai, failing to close out despite taking a lead in a match which their influential midfielder Jofre Mateu was harshly booked.
But there's good news for ATK as the Spaniard will be returning against Chennaiyin FC whose defence would be depleted without the trio of Bernard Mendy, Jairo Andres Suarez and Abhishek Das.
According to team sources, the team did not want to risk the former Hull City wingback Mendy on the artificial surface here.
The Frenchman had scored a stunning bicycle kick in their 2-1 win over Kerala Blasters and ATK's full strength side would look to go for an all out attack after Chennaiyin's star Brazilian forward Elano Blumber scored from a penalty deep into the second-half injury time.
One of the concerns for ATK is there tendency to concede goals despite taking the lead, something that has happened in three games. They are, in fact, yet to win a game at the home venue of Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan since their 3-0 rout of Mumbai City FC in the ISL kickoff on October 12.
It would be interesting to see how the ATK defence, which has so far put up a compact show, barring the blip against Pune in their 1-3 defeat, stands up to the challenge of Elano.
Ahead of Chennaiyin FC by virtue of goal difference, ATK cannot afford to lose as it would see them drop down the table for the first time in the league.
"The match against Chennaiyin FC on Friday is very important, because if we win, it will take us to 15 points. And the way other teams are placed on the table, I think 20 points will be enough for us to make the semifinal cut. We are very positive (to return to winning ways)," Jofre said.
Jofre has harsh memories of being booked which he considers a refereeing bloomer.
"I hope referee's decisions don't affect either team in Friday's match. Making mistakes is natural for the match officials as well as players. And I prefer not to think about it anymore," the Spaniard added.
From CFC's perspective too, it's been a long time since they tasted a win.
Meanwhile, to mark the Children's Day tomorrow, the franchise has also decided to send 100 tickets each to 11 schools in the city.