Atletico de Kolkata have kicked off their ISL preprations in style, by defeating Calcutta Football League (CFL) club, Aryan FC, 4-2, at the Mohun Bagan Club ground today. After a rigorous pre-season in Spain, Antonio Habas’ men showed immense prowess up-front, with Jaime Gavilan Martinez, Sushil Kumar Singh, Javi Lara and Baljit Sahni successfully finding the back of the net.
This is the team’s first exposure to Indian football, after returning from pre-season, earlier this week. Goal-scorer and former SD Eibar player, Javi Lara said, “To be a part of a champion side is always special and I am really looking forward to the season. It was good to score one today and the win by 4-2 margin gives us belief in ourselves to perform even better.”
The team played free-flowing football, with Gavilan and Lara, acting as key influencers from midfield. ATK looked to concentrate more on wing-play, to expand the attacking resources, they had at their disposal. One such attacking threat was Baljit Sahni, who was a key figure, for the Sourav Ganguly co-owner side, last season. He said, “ It was a good performance by the team; we wanted a winning start and played this match with all seriousness. We look forward to perform our best in our first match against Chennaiyin FC.”
ATK will have their work cut out on the October 3, when they face Chennaiyin FC and former striker Fikru Tefera. Traditionally, this fixture has ended in a stalemate, with both teams sharing the spoils last season.
The men in red and blue will play their first home match against the Kerala Blasters, on October 13, which will also see a repeat of last year’s final.