A stupendous free-kick from Liston Colaco and a late goal from Manvir Singh gave ATK Mohun Bagan a 2-0 win and ended Bengaluru FC’s dreams of a top-four finish at the Fatorda Stadium on Sunday.
On the stroke of half-time, Colaco, never shy of showcasing his individual brilliance, took it upon himself to break open the contest. A surging run drew a foul outside the penalty area and from the resultant free-kick he sent a rocket into the top-left corner, a shot so well taken that goalie Lara Sharma, despite moving in the right direction, couldn’t get as much as a touch.
Manvir sealed the tie in the 85th minute with a low shot from outside the box after BFC substitute Rohit Kumar gave the ball away cheaply. The result puts Juan Ferrando’s side on equal points with second-placed Jamshedpur FC (34), with the League Shield still within reach and a playoff spot all but sealed.
The first half, until Colaco’s goal, was largely uneventful. ATK MB enjoyed more of the ball, but BFC stood firm. Sunil Chhetri played in a withdrawn role, in the midfield alongside Ajay Chhetri.
AS IT HAPPENED: ISL 2021-22 Highlights ATK Mohun Bagan vs Bengaluru FC
While it ensured there were no gaping holes, it didn’t quite offer the drive BFC required in a must-win game, more so in the absence of Danish Farooq and Jayesh Rane. Centre-backs Sandesh Jhingan and Tiri were excellent as BFC didn’t register a single shot on goal in the first period.
Down a goal and left chasing a win, BFC tried to play on the front foot after the restart. But it lacked composure, losing the ball in dangerous areas and making itself vulnerable against fast breaks.
Two such instances could have finished BFC off – on 54 minutes, Manvir, with just Sharma to beat, delayed his shot and allowed Alan Costa to intervene. In the 57th minute, Colaco beat Sharma only for the ball to bounce off the post.
Marco Pezzaiuoli rang in the changes for BFC, making four substitutions at once with less than half an hour to go. Two of those who came in, defender Yaya Banana and winger Leon Augustine, got themselves booked in no time, the latter for diving inside the area. The BFC dugout cut an exasperated self. It was that kind of a day and the hopes soon evaporated.
The result: ATK Mohun Bagan 2 (Colaco 45, Manvir 85) bt Bengaluru FC 0.