NEW DELHI: Indian football legend Bhaichung Bhutia has come down heavily on defending Indian Super League (ISL) champions ATK and NorthEast United FC who are languishing at the bottom of the points tally. With three wins from 17 matches, ATK have 13 points and are currently locked in a battle with bottom-placed NEUFC, who have 11 points, to avoid the wooden spoon.
Writing in his column for TOI, Bhutia pointed out overseas players as NEUFC’s biggest disappointment of the season. “…it’s post mortem time for teams who missed out. It’s frustrating as you may draw a lot of flak but when you fall short, something surely went wrong. NEUFC were disappointing and the biggest setback was the non-performance of their foreign recruits. It’s hard to name one who stood out for them,” he wrote.
And he simply termed the winners of ISL 3 ATK’s season as ‘disaster’ after they were bogged down by pre-season injuries. “The less said the better for defending champions ATK as they were a sheer disaster. The most consistent team in the history of ISL were severely hit by the string of pre-season injuries,” was his stinging assessment.
He felt that Kerala Blasters showed immense potential at the start but tapered off as the season progressed. “The Blasters, to me, were the best team when it kicked-off. But initially were too much defensive. Under David James their tried to change gears but it wasn’t enough,” Bhutia observed.
Bengaluru FC, Chennaiyin FC and FC Pune City have already qualified for the playoffs. FC Goa and Jamshedpur FC will be battling it out to claim the final spot tonight. “My prediction came true as even before the midway stage I had said that Bengaluru FC, Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa will stay major contenders with the other slot to be filled by either FC Pune City, Jamshedpur FC or Kerala Blasters.
“The stage is all set for the semifinals with Jamshedpur FC hosting FC Goa toady for the final slot. Tonight it’s going to be more about Jamshedpur’s defence trying to containing an attacking FC Goa on the rampage,” he predicted. Source : timesofindia