December 1, 2016 Chandigarh: Former Atletico de Kolkata coach Antonio Habas will be in the opponents dug-out in Kolkata for the first time but the hosts will have nothing to worry as they meet FC Pune City in their final league clash of Hero Indian Super League at Rabindra Sarobar Stadium, Kolkata, on Friday.
Habas had a successful two-year stint with Atletico de Kolkata where he handed them the title in first season and took the team to semi-finals in second, losing only to eventual champions Chennaiyin FC. This season, Habas decided to switch to FC Pune City but he failed to recreate the same magic.
Habas has nothing to win in Kolkata with FC Pune City after his side were knocked out of the league, while his former team, Atletico de Kolkata, are in the semi-finals with a match to spare.
“For me, prior to the kick-off, this match will be special but once the match starts, there will be nothing special,” said Habas during the pre-match media briefing.
FC Pune City are placed sixth on the table with 15 points from 13 matches and Habas will be disappointed with how the team’s campaign shaped up this season. He missed the first four matches due to suspension but even after his return, he failed to inspire Pune, who have now failed to qualify for the third successive year.
Atletico de Kolkata, on the other hand, became the first and only team to qualify for semi-finals for three consecutive years. New coach Jose Molina proved just as good as Habas as he successfully achieved the first target and will now look to go one step ahead.
“We want to win this game as well. We will try and win this game, possibly by giving a chance to some players (who didn’t feature earlier). They are working well and did not get too many opportunities to play. I have confidence in them. They can play,” said Molina.
Atletico de Kolkata may have qualified for the play-offs but their home performance has left a lot to be desired. Their tally of seven points at home is the second lowest by any team this season, only after bottom-placed FC Goa (4 points). By contrast, Atletico de Kolkata had 12 points at home in ISL 2015 and 10 points in ISL 2014.
The former champions have managed to win just one of their six matches at home this season, drawing four and losing the other one. If they fail to win against FC Pune City, it will be their worst home campaign in the history of ISL, something that Molina and Kolkata will want to avoid, especially with Habas in the opponents dug-out.