Hugo Boumous struck the winner to help ATK Mohun Bagan return to winning ways by defeating the defending champion Hyderabad FC by a solitary goal, at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Saturday.
The French play-maker found the target early in the 11th minute as ATK Bagan held on to the score-line tally 13 points from seven matches and climbed to the fourth spot. Hyderabad FC suffered its second successive loss to remain on 16 points from eight matches.
ATK Mohun Bagan started like the host and used the width of the ground to launch its attacks. The Hyderabad defence had a tough time containing the host’s attacks which came up through both the flanks as Ashique Kuruniyan and Manvir Singh worked with purpose and pace. The ATKMB goal resulted from this dynamism in the 11th minute when Liston Colaco won a ball and released Boumous with a through pass. Boumous ran up and located an onrushing Ashique on the left.
The nippy winger complimented with a short cross that was tapped home by the Frenchman. Liston had two more opportunities to enhance the ATKMB lead but the creative midfielder seemed to have left his scoring boots behind as he found both his attempts from close coming off Hyderabad defenders.
Liston continued to struggle with his finishing after the break and could not convert from a one-on-one situation as his attempt was punched out by Hyderabad custodian Gurmeet Singh. Hyderabad created some late chances but failed to find the equaliser.
The host suffered a blow towards the end of the first half as a reckless foul by Hyderabad defender Hitesh Sharma on Manvir saw the latter stretchered off. With the midfield workhorse Joni Kauko already sidelined with an injury, Manvir’s departure slowed down Bagan’s attacking front and the host just tried to keep its defence tight in not conceding the equaliser.
ATK Mohun Bagan 1 (Boumous 11’) bt Hyderabad FC 0.