David Williams shrugged off his indifferent form this season with a peach of the goal to give ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) a 1-0 win over Bengaluru FC (BFC) at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa on Monday.
The Australian’s decisive strike came just after the half hour mark when he expertly controlled defensive midfielder Carl McHugh’s long ball before cutting in and creaming one into the top-right corner from just outside the penalty box.
It was Williams’ eighth ISL goal – four of which have come against BFC – and the first ATKMB has scored in the opening 45 minutes this campaign. The Kolkata side is now joint-top with Mumbai City FC on 16 points from seven games, while BFC, after its first defeat, remain third on 12 points.
But for Williams’ wonder-strike, it was game of half-chances. BFC’s attempts in the opening period came via a Erik Paartalu header off a long ball from custodian Gurpreet Sandhu and a Sunil Chhetri left-footer from distance. At the other end, Gurpreet was called into action twice, saving a weak shot from Manvir Singh before intercepting a squared ball from the right wing.
ATKMB’s high press continued to unsettle BFC in the second half. Manvir was a lively presence, with his acceleration from the right flank was no match for Rahul Bheke. On 51 minutes, Williams came close again, with the ball missing the bar by inches after Roy Krishna teed him up for a fierce long-ranger.
BFC did manage to disrupt ATKMB’s attacking patterns but showed very little enterprise of its own. Young Suresh Wangjam, whose drive and pace from midfield has propelled BFC for much of this season, started on the bench and his side sorely missed him.
After being introduced at the break, he almost provided an assist but Cleiton Silva sent his cut-back wide from close range on 73 minutes. ATKMB then bolted the door and there was little BFC could do to break it open.
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