ISL 2017: Rating ATK's foreign preseason tour
ATK have been training for the upcoming ISL season in the testing Dubai conditions to prepare themselves in the best possible way. The defending champions have so far played four matches in Dubai and have won all four. The Teddy Sheringham-managed side will now fly back to Kolkata on 4th November to get used to the home conditions.
Here are the basic statistics from ATK's preseason camp in Dubai:
Matches played: 4
Goals scored: 13
Goals conceded: 4
Clean sheets: 1
Here are their results:
October 23: ATK 2-1 Dubai Irish Football Club
October 27: ATK 3-2 Dibba Al-Hisn Sports & Culture Club
October 30: ATK 3-0 Dubai All-Stars
October 31: ATK 5-1 Turkmenistan U19s
ATK started their campaign against the Dubai Irish FC and won 2-1 on the night. Bipin Singh Thounaojam and Rupert Nongrum got on the score sheet. The reigning champions continued their good start with a follow-up win over Dibba Al-Hisn Sports & Culture Club with a 3-2 scoreline. This was the game where Robbie Keane opened his account for his new side.
The third friendly against the Dubai All-Stars saw ATK deliver a commanding performance and register their first clean sheet under the new management. Robbie Keane again scored for the Kolkata side along with the Indian striker, Robin Singh. ATK's last friendly was against the Turkmenistan U19s which the ISL club won 5-1 with the help of a brace from Robin Singh and one goal apiece for Keane, Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Zequinha. They'll now return to India to continue their pre-season preparations.
Though the emphasis in a preseason is generally on improving the fitness of the players and to instil a unifying spirit among the squad, positive results do give the players an extra motivation to work harder. Four wins out of four means that it is a perfect start for the reigning champions and can also prove to be a signal to come with ATK being projected as one of the favourites of the season 4.
ATK trained at the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex in Dubai. The facility had two training grounds where the players had sessions two times a day. The gruelling drills were designed by Teddy Sheringham to keep the boys on toes for the upcoming hectic schedule. ATK will play the season opener against Kerala Blasters on November 17 at their home ground.