Iain Hume struck twice to help Atletico de Kolkata return to winning ways as they thumped Mumbai City FC 4-1 here at the DY Patil stadium in Mumbai.
Selim Benachour scored the only goal for MCFC. Anelka selected him in the playing squad, renewing last season’s partnership with Subash Singh. Habas chose Syed Nabi in the defence against his former team and kept faith with Amrinder in goal. Two corner kicks forced the latter to get to work early, punching out a Norde floater onto the bar.
MCFC got the first close look at goal, when Spanish midfielder Juan Aguilera displayed a touch of class by hooking the ball over the defence for his captain Anelka to attempt a shot. The French ace tried to lob over, seeing the ATK custodian close in, but his shot was blocked before damage could be done.
A free-kick on the left flank saw the MCFC goalmouth turning into a crowded zone. Jaime Gavilan floated the ball towards Hume, but the move fizzled out.
Hume started a move culminating in the visitors’ first goal in the 34th minute. The Canadian gained possession deep in the rival half, laid off the ball back towards a teammate and moved into the striking zone. Gavilan arrived to convert the move into a goal-worthy one with a left-footed sweeping pass into space for Hume to finish.
Amrinder, another hero in the match, was away from action till then. Norde switching to the right striker position, trapped a pass from Aguilera, steered clear past two defenders closing in and slammed the ball wide off the post.
ATK’s second goal came out of the blue, due to a reckless tackle by a forward forced into a defensive position. Gavilan received the ball from Nabi’s throw-in was hacked down by Subash in a moment of madness. The referee pointed to the dreaded penalty spot and Hume converted coolly, biding his time as Subrata dived the other way.
Anelka came up with a triple change at half-time. Subash was replaced by Rowlinson Rodrigues, while defenders Francis Bertin and Darren O’Dea made way for offensive players Frederic Piquionne and Selim Benachour respectively. All-out attack was the message as the home team went in pursuit of goals.
The ATK goal came under siege on resumption. Amrinder punched away a fierce Piqueionne attempt taken on the turn, the corner was cleared. Subrata at the other post saw a Hume volley bounce off the crossbar and over the sideline.
Habas brought in Rino Anto for Nabi, fresh legs in the defence. Substitute Benachour, back in the event after rushing home to attend his father’s funeral in France, swept home high into the net as MCFC hit back. Amrinder saved a Sunil Chhetri volley from close and shifted position for the rebound, but the Tunisian reacted faster.
The 4-1 verdict in favour of the visitors marked Mumbai City’s first defeat at home after three wins on the trot. ATK coach Habas leaped in joy as his team picked up three points in an away game, savouring the sweet taste of victory after three defeats back-to-back.
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