ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) continued their fine run within the Indian Super League (ISL) table with a cushty 2-0 victory over NorthEast United FC (NEUFC) at the Fatorda Stadium on Sunday. With this win, ATKMB reclaimed the first position, pushing Mumbai City FC down.
During a match that always became a physical affair — six yellow cards were handed out — a seven-minute double early within the last half settled things in favor of the Kolkata outfit. Fijian striker Roy Krishna scored his first goal from open play in nearly a month within the 51st minute. Soon, within the 58th minute, an own-goal from Benjamin Lambot increased ATKMB’s chances.
Antonio Lopez Habas made two changes to his ATKMB line-up with Sahil Sheikh making his first ISL start. NEUFC coach Gerard Nus changed things around with five changes to his line-up. It was ATKMB who started brighter, keeping the ball and searching the more threatening of the 2 teams. However, they struggled to convert the control that they had over the match into chances.
They had a free-kick during a threatening position during the 18th minute when Krishna was fouled by Dylan Fox just outside the penalty area. The resulting cross though was headed over the bar by Carl McHugh. Prabir Das was one of the brilliant sparks for ATKMB in a barren half, proving to be a crucial attacking outlet by playing high the pitch.
Just before the half-hour mark, Krishna spotted Prabir during a dangerous position and nearly found him just between NEUFC keeper Gurmeet Singh, but Gurmeet Singh saves it. Then, just before the halftime, Das headed wide from a cross by Subhasish Bose. Both teams went in the second half with a goalless score. But, it had been Krishna once more, who broke the deadlock, heading in after Tiri flicked on a corner from Edu Garcia.
Just seven minutes later, ATKMB doubled their lead, this point off another corner. Lambot tried to affect another Garcia delivery, only to inadvertently divert it into his box. The Highlanders were further pegged back by the goal and struggled to convert clear-cut chances.
Their best attempt on goal came within the 71st minute when Federico Gallego grazed the crossbar with a freekick. That they only had one shot on track throughout the match was a testament to how comfortably ATKMB was ready to see out the last half.
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