ISL: Hume saves ATK with a last minute equaliser

A last minute equaliser by Iain Hume helped Atletico de Kolkata hold NorthEast United FC to a 1-1 draw in an ISL match here, at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium on Thursday.

Iain Hume tapped home the ball from close range after fellow forward Helder Postiga directed a header towards the Canadian.   -  ISL/Sportzpics

A last minute equaliser by Iain Hume helped Atletico de Kolkata hold NorthEast United FC to a 1-1 draw in an ISL match here, at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium on Thursday. Nicolas Velez took NEUFC ahead early in the first half before Hume fired the 90th-minute equaliser to save the blushes of the host.

Needing a win to stay afloat NorthEast United effectively searched out an early goal, in the fifth minute, and did even better in defending it en masse for the remainder of the first half. The visitor could have easily found the insurance goal had its Uruguayan striker Emiliano Alfaro been a bit sharp with his two headers in the second half.

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The host did well absorbing the opposition’s onslaughts and found out the equaliser in the nick of time to keep its position in the top half of the league standings.

The first half was mostly about Velez’s opportunistic strike despite the fact that ATK had greater share of ball possession (56 per cent). The goal happened against the run of play and had much to do with a defensive error by the ATK back-line that gave Velez the opportunity to go at the goal.

As the home side tried to rebuild the attack following two incursions in the NEUFC box, its Portuguese defender Henrique Sereno made the cardinal mistake of overlooking an approaching Velez while Alfaro pressed hard for an interception.

Sereno sent the ball square intending to reach his colleague Arnab Mondal but Velez plucked it midway and went up unchallenged to score past a hapless Debjit Majumdar in the ATK goal.

The host had an early opportunity to equalise in the second half when Spanish midfielder Javi Lara beat the NEUFC goalkeeper Subrata Paul in the air, curling the ball from a corner attempt. But Robin Gurung cleared the ball from the goalmouth with a timely header to keep the scoreline intact.

The visitor had two chances of enhancing the lead but Alfaro found his headers, in the 72nd and 82nd minutes, brilliantly saved by the ATK custodian Majumdar.

Just when NEUFC thought it had all three points in the bag, a nicely coordinated free-kick fetched the reward for the host in the 90th minute. Lara sent ball swerving into the middle of the box where the Portuguese World Cupper Helder Postiga brought it down with a header for Hume to tap it home from close range.

The drawn result helped ATK’s tally to 14 points from 10 matches and it remains in the fourth spot while NEUFC has inched up to 11 points, its first point after four consecutive losses, to be in the seventh position.

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