A solitary goal from star striker Roy Krishna was enough as new side ATK Mohun Bagan defeated Kerala Blasters FC in the first game of the seventh season of the Indian Super League (2020-21) at the GMC Stadium on Friday.
READ | ISL 2020-21 news: Krishna's strike gives ATK Mohun Bagan win over Blasters
Here are the main talking points from the season-opener:
1) ROY KRISHNA MAKES THE DIFFERENCE FOR ATKMB
Despite missing a sitter from close range during the opening minutes of the first-half, Fijian centre-forward Krishna was at the right place, at the right time to score a 67th minute winner for his team.
He not only bagged the first goal of the 2020-21 ISL, but also became the first player to find the back of the net for new entrant ATKMB.
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Krishna’s strike partner from last season, David Williams, didn’t start the game, but that didn’t stop him as Spaniard Edu Garcia complemented him well for most parts of the outing, resulting in the goal.
2) KBFC DOMINATES POSSESSION, WITH NO SHOTS ON TARGET
Kerala Blasters dominated possession throughout the game, but the team’s forwards weren’t able to manage a single shot on target. ATK Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharja was hardly tested on his way to the clean sheet.
English striker Gary Hooper was unable to get past the Kolkata outfit’s defence, while wingers Nongdamba Naorem and Ritwik Kumar weren’t able to create an impact. The substitutes Jordan Murray, Facundo Pereyra and Seityasen Singh failed to make a mark.
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Having lost the free-scoring Bartholomew Ogbeche to Mumbai City FC, KBFC will need to find a right combination up front.
3) SOOSAIRAJ INJURY COULD PROVE COSTLY
In spite of the victory, clean sheet and three points, ATKMB lost a crucial player in Michael Soosairaj during the 14th minute of the match against KBFC.
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Soosairaj suffered a knee injury while fighting to hold the ball against an onrushing Prasanth Karuthadathkuni and had to be stretchered off very early in the game. Replays showed that Prasanth had made a clumsy tackle, however, the referee didn't penalise him.
Soosairaj's absence was clearly felt for the rest of the game as ATK Mohun Bagan struggled to create chances from the flanks. The side could be in a spot of bother if Soosairaj's injury is serious.