ISL: Super-sub Balwant takes ATK to summit

ATK's Balwant Singh, who came on the 90th minute to replace Edu Garcia, netted the 50th goal of the ISL by an Indian to trump the Highlanders 1-0 in Kolkata.

ATK's Balwant Singh ended a prolonged deadlock against North East United nodding home a corner in the 94th minute.   -  ISL

Balwant Singh stayed true to his role of the super-sub, scoring a stoppage-time goal to help ATK get past NorthEast United FC by a solitary goal in an Indian Super League fixture at the Salt Lake Stadium on Monday.

The win saw ATK regaining the leadership of the ISL points table, dislodging FC Goa from the top on a better goal-difference after the two were tied at 27 points each from 14 matches.

Balwant, a 90th-minute substitute for Spaniard Edu Garcia, ended the prolonged deadlock nodding home a corner which came as the last scoring opportunity for the host in the 90+4 minute.

Highlights| Balwant Singh stoppage-time winner earns ATK win vs NEUFC

The first half was exciting in phases as the two sides focussed on keeping possession than taking the attack to the opponent. Roy Krishna nearly broke the deadlock in the 12th minute when he almost got the ball in. NEUFC keeper Subhasish Roy Chowdhury threw himself in the way to foil Krishna's efforts. The visitor launched a counter-attack a minute later but ATK defender Agustin Iniguez blocked Andrew Keogh's effort.

The Highlanders kept pressing for more and would have got the break in the 16th minute when midfielder Lalengmawia kept his angular attempt on target, only to see ATK custodian Arindam Bhattacharya dive desperately to manage a clearance with his fingertips.

ATK had its best chance in the 39th minute when Garcia worked up a defence-splitting through pass to find Krishna free in the NorthEast box. Finding himself in a one-on-one situation with Roy Chowdhury, Krishna tried to chip the ball over just to see the latter getting his legs in the way.

Arindam came to ATK’s rescue once again in the last minute of the first half when he tipped over a sharp header from the NorthEast midfielder Martin Chaves. The second session also kept the goalkeepers busy at both ends before Balwant scored the last-gasp winner.

The result:  ATK 1 (Balwant Singh 90+4) bt North East United FC 0


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