ISL 2019-20: ATK vs Odisha FC - Talking Points

Powered by a hat-trick from Roy Krishna, ATK sealed a spot in the semifinal of the Indian Super League with a 3-1 win over Odisha FC in Kolkata on Saturday.

The star of the night was undoubtedly ATK's Roy Krishna, who scored the second hat-trick of this edition of the ISL after Kerala Blasters' Bartholomew Ogbeche.   -  RAJEEV BHATT

Playing its 50th home game, the 15,000-odd spectators at the Salt Lake Stadium were in for a treat as ATK and Odisha clashed here in Kolkata on Saturday. A dominant 3-1 win saw the host seal a spot in the semifinal of the Indian Super League, simultaneously putting Odisha FC between a rock and a hard place as far as its bid to break into the top four is concerned.

The star of the night was undoubtedly ATK's Roy Krishna, who scored the second hat-trick of this edition of the ISL after Kerala Blasters' Bartholomew Ogbeche a few nights ago against Chennaiyin FC.

From his prowess to an overall lacklustre defensive showing on both ends of the field, here are the biggest talking points from the game.

Highlights | ISL ATK 3-1 Odisha FC, as it happened: Roy Krishna hat-trick powers host to semis, top of table

One man show


Second half goals have been a trend this season. Another all-pervasive pattern has been one-man striking attacks. Be it Ogbeche for Kerala, Krishna for ATK (tonight and quite a few times over the games gone by), Sergio Castel for Jamshedpur, Asamoah Gyan for NorthEast United or Sunil Chhetri for Bengaluru FC among others, these strikers have had to often single-handedly take care of scoring duties for their respective teams, often in vain.

While ATK benefited greatly from the pairing of David Williams and Krishna early on in the League, an injury to the former has left Krishna on his own. Edu Garcia is a great man up front, but cannot create as many chances as he should if he must be an able second fiddle. He works best as that super sub who enjoys scoring post the 85th minute against the most competent of attacks.

This is also a factor that crippled Odisha on Saturday. Aridane Santana was that brilliant striker up front for this side with the likes of (and especially) Xisco Hernandez essaying the role of playmaker, but is out injured for the rest of the season. Keeping the results off late aside, Xisco has generally been pivotal to the side's chances in the scoring deparment. Manuel Onwu, who scored Odisha's solitary goal of the game has been warming up in his new set up but it could be too late to wait for the side to work as a well-oiled machine.

Is he a keeper?

Francisco Dorronsoro will empathise with Blasters' TP Rehenesh after the night he had in Kolkata. Dorronsoro was unsure at the post at several points in the first half, when no just two shots (off-target too) were registered by the host. All three of Krishna's goals found him confounded and backed inadequately by his defenders, enough to get Josep Gombau to substitute him in the second half with Arshdeep Singh. Luckily for Arshdeep the damage had been done by then and action moved to the other end with Odisha trying its best to equalise.

Report | ISL 2019-20: Roy Krishna stars as ATK seals semis berth

Where is the defense?

A bad day in the office for Dorronsoro should not take the focus away from the actual problem - Odisha's defense did not turn up. Krishna had Narayan Das constantly marking him, but at the goalmouth, the Fijian had a lot of room to switch feet and get those shots flying in. Das should not be the only defender making body blocks to save his side embarassment.

The Odisha defender was also lucky to survive two booking opportunities with his clumsy tackles. The first especially, a wrestling tackle on Krishna looked sure to earn him a card but he didn't. ATK also left its goal post open on more occasions than one. A shot from Xisco would have just made its way in had it not found Arindam directly - that was how free the ball was to get that far from the edge of the box.

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