Both teams are on a superb run of form which makes the game an unpredictable one.
It promises to be a heavyweight clash on Saturday evening, when two sides perched high up the table square off against each other. The Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati will play host to the clash between fourth-placed NorthEast United and second-placed ATK, with both teams looking like genuine playoff contenders this season.
The hosts were grateful for a very late equalizer in their last game against Jamshedpur FC, that protected their undefeated status in the league. Up against a formidable ATK side, that will once again be under threat on Saturday.
The visitors from Kolkata have been pegged back by draws in their last two games, having coasted to three straight wins in their previous three. The two-time former champions have again emerged as a force, after the disappointments of the past two campaigns.
The Highlanders have been unbeaten so far, but have had to contend with draws in four out of the six games they have played. Three points on Saturday won’t just be a statement victory, but will also move them clear of the prolific FC Goa, who are just one point behind in the table.
ATK would like to get back to winning ways after having dropped points in their previous two and claim top spot on the table. They will be on the road for the next three games and would want to begin with a win on Saturday.
NorthEast United will get a welcome boost in the form of Kai Heerings returning from suspension against ATK. The Dutch centre-back will be vital in keeping the fearsome attack of the visitors at bay.
ATK on the other hand will likely be deprived of the services of Irish defender Carl McHugh who picked up an injury in the last game against Mumbai City FC.
He two sides have met each other in the league 10 times previously, with the Kolkata outfit being the more successful having emerged victorious five times. Whereas, the Highlanders have tasted success on three occasions.
Men To Watch
Asamoah Gyan (NorthEast United)
The former Ghana captain has already provided enough glimpses of his lethal finishing ability and he could be the hero the home side needs in such a crunch encounter. The ex-Sunderland striker has netted in all the games at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium so far and the fans would be hoping for a repeat tomorrow.
Roy Krishna (ATK)
The Fiji international is one of the best signings in the ISL this season and his performances so far have justified all the hype. A deadly forward who is high on confidence, Krishna has already scored four times this season and is one of the favourites for the Golden Boot this term.
NorthEast United: Subhasish, Reagan, Heerings, Wayne Vaz, Rakesh, Leudo, Milan, Redeem, Chaves, Triadis, Gyan
ATK: Arindam, Kotal, Garcia, Anas, Prabir, Sehnaj, Hernandez, Soosairaj, Garcia, Williams, Roy Krishna
Did You Know?
- Roy Krishna was the recipient of the 2018-19 Johnny Warren Medal, awarded to the best player of the A-League season, the highest tier in the Australian professional football structure.
- Asamoah Gyan became the first foreign player for NorthEast United to score in three back-to-back home games.
- Historically, meetings between the two teams have always produced low scoring affairs, with just 13 goals scored in 10 matches.
The game will take place at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati on Saturday and will be telecast live on Star Sports 2 and Star Sports 2 HD from 7:30 PM IST. It will also be streamed on Hotstar and Jio TV.