ISL: ATK fights back to defeat NorthEast United

Atletico de Kolkata magnificently rallied from one goal down to beat North East United FC 2-1 in a well-contested encounter of the Indian Super League at the I.G. Stadium here on Friday.

ATK Players celebrate the winning goal.   -  ISL

Atletico de Kolkata magnificently rallied from one goal down to beat North East United FC 2-1 in a well-contested encounter of the Indian Super League at the I.G. Stadium here on Friday.

Helder Postiga and Juan Belencoso's second half goals scripted ATK's third win and took it to top the table with 12 points.

In the first half, NEU showed its grit. Gustavo Lazzaretti dazzled with his solid blocking and quick clearance. The active Holicharan Nazary handled his dual job of defending and supplying on the right well.

Captain Didier Zokora marshalled his men and maintained a wall of protection around goalkeeper Subrata Paul, who dealt with long rangers.

Belencoso posed some threat but could not breach the NEU wall. The best chance for ATK came in 30th minute when a spirited Sameegh Doutie on the right crossed it to Belenocoso, but he missed the chance.

However, the first half was more about NEU's constant pressure on ATK. The busy NEU forward line, comprising Katsumi Yusa, Emiliano Alfaro and Robert Cullen, asked several questions

They nearly opened the account in the 32nd minute when a Yusa free-kick to Alfaro on to Cullen returned to the Uruguayan. Alfaro missed it and Henrique Sereno cleared in time.

ATK resistance crumbled seven minutes later when a Nirmal Chetri pass from the right corner was headed in by Alfaro to the absolute delight of 35000 partisan crowd.

ATK's attack was more organised in the second half. It exchanged Doutie for Postiga and the Portuguese, who sat out for four matches, infused life into his team.

In 63rd minute, Lalrindika Ralte sent in a floater from left and Postiga beat Zokora to head in the equaliser.

A limping Paul was replaced by Wellington Priori and NEU also lost Japanese Cullen in 77th minute.

ATK grabbed lead, again due to Ralte's brilliance. Following a fantastic run, he rolled it on from left to Belencoso to score a well-deserving goal.

NEU tried hard but wasted opportunities and lost again at home.

The result: Atletico de Kolkata 2 (Postiga 63, Belencoso 82) bt North East United FC 1 (Alfaro 39).

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