ISL: Lara stunner helps ATK grab point

Atletico de Kolkata roared back from a goal down in the first half, forcing Mumbai City FC to a 1-1 draw with a forceful second half display, at the Mumbai Football Arena here on Tuesday. Matias Defederico’s 27th goal was neutralised by a Javier Lara strike in the 82nd minute.

Javier Lara of Atletico de Kolkata celebrates his equaliser.   -  ISL Sportzpics

Atletico de Kolkata roared back from a goal down in the first half, forcing Mumbai City FC to a 1-1 draw with a forceful second half display, at the Mumbai Football Arena here on Tuesday. Matias Defederico’s 27th goal was neutralised by a Javier Lara strike in the 82nd minute.

The turning point came 10 minutes earlier, when Mumbai City was forced to curtail attacking ambition when midfielder Pronoy Halder was sent off, forcing the team to put men behind the ball. Sony Norde was on the prowl, playing his first match, but no service came from teammates struggling to defend space. The home team stepped onto the pitch without Forlan, > who was out with a leg injury . Further details on the injury were not given.

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Haiti striker Norde’s appearance in the dugout lent a buzz to the game. Jackichand Singh was also listed among the substitutes, as was coach Alexandre Guimareas. Mumbai City did not have a specialist forward named in the line-up.

ATK went on expected lines, putting Iain Hume and Juan Belencoso as twin strikers. Goalkeeper Volpato wore the captain’s armband for Mumbai City. Brazilian Leonardo da Costa tested rival custodian Debji Majumder with a left-footer. Haokip got a close look at the ATK goal 12 mintues after start, trapping a diagonal pass when in the clear and raced ahead before striking with his left on the run. The ball curled onto the crosspiece, teammate Da Costa fired the rebound wide.

Defederico shot the home team into the lead, swinging a left-footer low to the right corner after sliding into space to trap a long pass from defender Aibolang Khongjee. The Argentine, netting his second goal in three matches for Mumbai City, demonstrated his class with a quick trap and a neat swerve past his marker before lashing a left-footed swing into the right corner, leaving the goalkeeper helpless.

Iain Hume was replaced in the second half, as ATK coach Molina pressed Stephen Pearson into the attack. The Canadian striker did not display the energy fans have come to expect.

Mumbai City gave Sony Norde a chance, in place of Da Costa. Jackichand was already in, so Guimaraes opted to unleash his strikers. Halder went off with a red card after a tackle on ATK captain Borja Fernandez earned him a second yellow card. The blue shirts were forced to tone down aggression after losing a player.

ATK stepped on the pace, getting the equaliser through Javier Lara. Fernandez passed to his fellow Spaniard, the latter taking a crack at target from far and the ball floated in. Volpato in gaol appeared to be affected by a deflection off an outstretched leg, as the ball soared higher than expected and lodged into the right corner. ATK fans found their voice, Mumbai City fans picked up the chant till the final whistle.

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