An I-League title contender at one stage before eventually finishing third, Real Kashmir FC would look to cause an upset win against Indian Super League side ATK when the two teams clash in a Super Cup round of 16 match in Bhubaneshwar on Monday.
Real Kashmir had an impressive I-League debut season, causing quite a few upsets and given the quality at hand, they will be a tough customer for the Kolkata-based ATK side who have finished sixth in the IPL.
Reak Kashmir head coach David Robertson said ATK have experienced players but made it clear that his side can beat any opponent on their day.
“It is going to be a very difficult game. They have got highly experienced players. Their budget is multiple times than ours. This season only two teams have beaten [I-League champions] Chennai City. We beat them twice. On our day, we can beat anyone,” he said.
“I think for us it is a good test for our players and the team to see how far we have come,” said the Scottish coach.
He also talked about the difference between the two clubs in terms of budget and facilities.
“ISL is a step up. They have got a budget lot more than ours. Maybe their top foreign players are more than our overall budget. So, we know it is going to be a tough game. But like every game this season, we have been underdogs and we have just gone and enjoyed the first season in I-League,” he said.
“Tomorrow is another little bit of history for the club as well. First time in the Super Cup. So, it has been a fantastic couple of years.”
ATK head coach Steve Coppell had words of appreciation for Real Kashmir, given their meteoric rise over the past year.
“I have seen quite a few of their games on TV and they are a team that deserve and demand respect. They have some really good players and they have a particular style which has produced a lot of goals. Hopefully it will be a really good game,” Coppell said.
He also praised his counterpart David Robertson for the work he has put in as head coach.
“You judge people on what they do and not what they have done. Finishing third in I-League in their debut season is a great achievement. They play very attractive football and he has done a great job. We know we are in for a tough game tomorrow and may the best team win,” he added.