An astounding, lion-hearted comeback earned ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) a stirring 3-2 win over Kerala Blasters (KBFC) in the Indian Super League clash (ISL 2020-21) at the Fatorda Stadium on Sunday.
The remarkable victory takes ATKMB to 27 points from 14 games and it moves within three points off leader Mumbai City, while Blasters’ shocking collapse sees it remain ninth.
Highlights| ATKMB vs KBFC
Kerala Blasters made its attacking intention clear right away and almost went ahead in the fifth minute. Tiri’s headed back-pass was too weak and Jordan Murray latched on to it before squaring it for Sahal Abdul Samad. The youngster played it to Gary Hooper, who returned it to Sahal as neither of them seemed willing to shoot. By the time Sahal did manage to pull the trigger, Jhingan threw his body on the line to block the shot.
It was a sign of things to come for the Blasters as it went ahead in the 14th minute courtesy of a sensational strike goal from Hooper. Sandeep Singh played a lob from the right flank and Hooper chested it down expertly before unleashing a phenomenal volley from 31-meters out. Arindam Bhattacharja, who is second in the race for the Golden Glove, had no chance as the ball sailed past him and into the top corner. Murray nearly emulated Hooper with a similar strike seven minutes later, but couldn’t keep his shot on target.
Roy Krishna, ATKMB’s top-scorer this season, got into the game around the half-hour mark. He first got a fine header off Prabir Das’ cross that sailed just wide and followed it up with a venomous strike a couple of minutes later. ATKMB looked inept in attack otherwise.
Kibu Vicuna’s side doubled its lead soon after the break when Costa Nhamoinesu knocked in Sahal’s corner. It was only the second time this season ATKMB was staring at a two-goal deficit, but it did not deter the side. Marcelinho, making his debut for the Mariners, offered ATKMB a lease of life by bombing down the centre and fighting his way past Jeakson Singh before placing it past the ‘keeper in the 59th minute.
The momentum had swiftly shifted in ATKMB's favour and it equalised six minutes later. Blasters’ captain Jessel Carneiro handled the ball in the box and Krishna drilled the penalty into the right corner. The Mariners were relentless in their pressure, grabbing six shots on target between the 53rd to 68th minute, compared to Blasters’ one.
The pressure evidently getting to the KBFC’s defence as two sloppy backpasses, one from Sandeep and the other from Costa, nearly gifted the opposition a third goal.
The third goal did come and it came off Krishna's left boot as he made the most of the jumpy backline by creating a chance out of nothing. He stole the ball from Sandeep and then streaked past Jeakson before curling it into the back of the net. The 87th-minute goal, his ninth, put the tie to bed. The win also marked the first time an ISL team coached by Habas won a game after being two goals down.
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