Roy Krishna found the only goal to help ATK Mohun Bagan edge out Chennaiyin FC by a solitary goal in its penultimate match of the ISL-8 at Fatorda on Thursday and ensure a playoff berth.
The win also saw ATK Mohun Bagan climb to the second spot with 37 points, which is level with the current leader Jamshedpur FC. This will intensify the contest for the league winner’s Shield although Jamshedpur FC has the advantage of having played a match less.
The ATKMB outfit looked tired after playing continuous matches with minimum breaks but managed to start well. It went in the hunt for the lead right from the start and made repeated raids to pin the opposition back in its defence.
The ATKMB almost had the break in the second minute when a through ball from play-maker Joni Kauko set up Krishna inside the CFC box with a nice through ball. The Fijian striker unleashed a powerful shot just to see his attempt coming off the near post.
As it happened: ISL 2021-22 Highlights CFC vs ATKMB: Mariners qualify for semis with 1-0 win; goes level on points with Jamshedpur
Chennaiyin grew stronger as the game progressed and did well sticking to a counter-attacking plan in the second quarter of the action. Rahim Ali almost got the lead for CFC in the eighth minute but his effort missed the target narrowly.
The CFC defence also did well maintaining a compact shape and cramped ATKMB’s famed attack for want of space in the striking zone.
The Krishna-Kauko combination finally helped in breaking the deadlock in the injury-time of the first half when the latter created the opening by sending a precise through ball to the former in the CFC box. Krishna beat his marker while receiving the ball and finished with an angular drive that beat the defences of the young CFC goalkeeper Samik Mitra.
The second half ended in a listless exchange as ATKMB decided to protect the slender lead and CFC, which was already out of the title contest, appeared happy to be rooted to a defensive plan.
The result: Chennaiyin FC 0 lost to ATK Mohun Bagan 1 (Roy Krishna 45+3).