The UEFA Champions League rolls into his final matchday action, and it brings along some exhilarating fixtures to look forward to. Liverpool take on Red Bull Salzburg in a must win game of Group E, while Borussia Dortmund take on Slavia Praha with a hope of getting a positive outcoming from Barcelona’s trip to San Siro to face Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan.
All that followed by the domestic league action over the weekend will pack your week with absolute thrill. And oh, not to forget the matchday 8 of the Indian Super League. Country’s premier football competition will have Odisha FC locking horns with Hyderabad FC, while NorthEast United will play their second home game on the bounce; this time against a struggling Chennaiyin FC.
The most enthralling of all, however, would be ATK’s visit to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Margao to face FC Goa on Saturday.
FC Goa vs ATK
The heavyweights of the Indian Super League will lock horns in what is supposed to be a battle for the honour. FC Goa, with 12 points sit third on the table, while ATK acquire the top spot after four wins and one defeat in seven league outings.
ATK have always found it difficult to breach Goa’s defences at their turf given that their victory at the venue came in 2016 when an injury time goal from Stephen Pearson gave his team a crucial 2-1 win. Since then, it has always been a one-way traffic. Back in February 2018, Goa put five past ATK, and a year later added three more their tally. As things stand, FC Goa have scored nine goals in three games at home against ATK.
As far their head-to-head count is concerned, the teams have played as many as seven draws in 12 meetings. ATK have come out on top on three occasions, while Goa have tasted victory on two.
Watch out four:
Roy Krishna: The ISL ‘Hero of the Month’ for November, Roy Krishna has taken the league by storm, scoring six goals and one assist in seven appearances. The Fijian international rescued his team against Mumbai City FC by scoring an injury-time equalizer last month and carried his form against NorthEast United by bagging a brace in a 3-0 win away from home. Thus, if there’s anyone who is expected to make an impact, it has to be the 32-year-old.
Inter Milan vs Barcelona
With four points separating Inter from Barcelona, clinching the top spot of Group F of the UEFA Champions League is simply out of reach. However, with Borussia Dortmund breathing right down the neck with equal points – behind only on goal difference – Inter cannot afford to slip from this point on.
Inter’s record in the Champions League though isn’t something that they would want to count on, given that they have won just twice in their last nine matches; both coming in this year’s edition (D3 L4). The positive, on the other hand, remains that they are unbeaten in six home games in the competition. Furthermore, they are also unbeaten in their last nine home games against a La Liga opponent (W3 D6), with their last defeat coming against Alaves in the 2000/01 UEFA Cup.
Barcelona, on the other hand, have scored 2.5 goals in six of their last eight games, and have lost just once in eight away matches. Regardless of the record though, they have failed to find the net on a regular basis, having scored just three goals in their last five away matches.
Watch out for:
Lautaro Martinez: Five goals in last four games pretty much sums what Lautaro Martinez has been all about under Conte this season. The ever-blazing Argentine has bagged five goals in as many Champions League appearances and has been leading his team’s attack alongside Romelu Lukaku with sheer authority. It was, in fact, Martinez who got into the scoresheet when Barcelona met Inter earlier in the campaign. Thus, it is fair to say he will have a say when Barcelona visit his territory on Tuesday (Wednesday 1:30 am, IST).
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Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @IndSuperLeague