ATK star striker Mohun Bagan Roy Krishna has set his sights on their upcoming ISL clash against SC East Bengal, saying they must win the game “at all costs”.
The two Kolkata heavyweights will meet for the first time in the Indian Super League on November 27, after the respective teams foray into the top-level tournament this season and the Fijian International is all blown up.
“I know our supporters will look forward to seeing our victory in the derby game. We have to win the game at all costs,” the 33-year-old said at the team hotel here on Saturday.
“I have heard a lot about the Kolkata derby. I am waiting to play this game because I have never seen this game or even had the chance to play.”
He scored the lone goal in their victory over the Kerala Blasters in the ISL opener.
Roy Krishna had witnessed the frenzy of Kolkata derby fans.
“Our car was stuck in a traffic jam.
I was thinking, if there are so many supporters in the street off the pitch, then what about inside the pitch, ”he recalls.
He said they would miss the atmosphere this time around with games being held behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You can’t come to the field this time because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I will miss this atmosphere but I ask everyone to pray for our team, to continue to support us.
Roy Krishna, who was ATK’s top scorer with 15 goals under his belt in their triumphant campaign last season, also opened the count this time to script a 1-0 victory over the Southern side.
For ATK, it was their first win in seven matches against the Kerala Blasters in the past three seasons, as they had lost three times and drawn as many times.
“We won the Kerala game after a long time. This victory will help us in the derby.”
ATK Mohun Bagan may have racked up all the points, but the team looked rusty in the first half and Roy Krishna missed up to three chances. He blamed it on the lack of a preseason.
“I wish I had a hat trick. I wonder why I missed this opportunity. Plus, I learn from this that I have to work harder. It takes more training. I played. after practicing for only two weeks. Hope I can improve myself, “he said.
The goal came after the hour following a defensive failure.
“I have spent most of the past two months in quarantine. At that time, my Nazia wife from Fiji was encouraging me in many ways every day. She gave me many suggestions to reduce my mental fatigue.
“My family got up at 2 am and watched the game. They cheered me on on the phone,” he said, dedicating the goal to his family.
Coach Antonio Habas, too, is ready for the November 27 clash.
“Now we have to think about East Bengal after Sunday. There will be continued practice,” he said.
Australian star David Williams did not start for ATKMB and was substituted eight minutes from time.
Habas said caution had to be taken as it was the first game of the season and the humidity was adding to the woes.
“It’s not good for a player to play 90 minutes in this humidity and with this intensity when you haven’t played for eight months. We have to replace everyone whether it’s Roy, Williams or Edu (Garcia) But I think he played well.
ATK also suffered an injury setback to Michael Soosairaj who was left with a swollen left leg after a tackle from Prasanth Karuthadathkuni in the 12th minute.
But team sources said the injury appeared “minor” and the ATKMB left winger did not need an MRI.