ISL: Bengaluru FC 1-0 ATK - Talking points

Bengaluru FC will go into the second leg of the ISL semifinal against ATK with an advantage, thanks to Deshorn Brown's winner on Sunday.

Bengaluru FC and ATK

Bengaluru FC and ATK players shake hands after the full-time whistle.   -  ISL MEDIA

Defending ISL champion Bengaluru FC benefited from a rare Arindam Bhattacharya error as it secured a 1-0 home win in the first leg of the ISL semifinal against ATK. Jamaican forward Deshorn Brown was rewarded for sniffing a chance that seemed non-existent when Juanan tried to curl the ball low into the corner.

Here, Sportstar analyses the key aspects of an eventful match at the Kanteerava Stadium.


Offside or handball?

In the 17th minute, ATK forward David Williams, it seemed, had put his side ahead with a thumping left-footed hit from outside the box. The linesman's flag on the near-side went up almost instantly, ruling out the goal. However, this left fans and the broadcasters confusedd because Williams was comfortably onside as he received the ball from Roy Krishna. While replays would later reveal that Williams had handled the ball before finding the back of the net, it remained unclear if the goal was indeed ruled out for the handball.

ATK surprisingly blunt going forward

The Kolkata-based side has scored the second-most goals (33) in the ISL this season, but it was surprisingly flat against Bengaluru FC in the first leg at the Kanteerava Stadium. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu had to make only one save over 90 minutes, with a majority of ATK's goal attempts coming from outside the area.

Roy Krishna, who has scored the second-most goals (14) this season, had a couple of chances early in the first half: once with David Williams dropping wide and playing an inviting cross that Krishna couldn't connect with. His second effort was from outside the area, with Juanan blocking his curling effort.


As full-time approached, ATK raised the tempo by a notch as Bengaluru looked to hold on to its one-goal lead. But Antonio Habbas's side continued to be blunt with its efforts. Edu Garcia and Armando Sousa, who took the free-kicks resulting from Nishu Kumar's red-card offence just outside the Bengaluru penalty area, let the home side off the hook with their free-kick efforts cannoning off the wall both times.

Even after going down to ten men following Nishu's dismissal for a professional foul on Krishna, Bengaluru wasn't stretched by ATK's attacking play, which was a disappointment.


Sunil Chhetri thrives in wide-forward role

The Bengaluru captain operated as a left wide-forward with Jamaican Deshorn Brown the lone centre forward in a system resembling 3-4-2-1.

Chhetri was involved in Bengaluru's only goal of the match. It was his header from Gurpreet's longball, that found Erik Paartalu, who played in Juanan before Brown benefited from Arindam Bhattacharya's goalkeeping error.

In the second half with Kevaughn Frater replacing Alberto Serran, Chhetri had his best opportunity to score. The forward connected with Frater's floated cross, forcing a save off Arindam with a header that didn't quite have the venom. It was an indication that despite operating as a wide-forward, Chhetri continued to carry a goal threat.

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