Former champion ATK rode on two early goals to pick up its first win at home downing defending champion Chennaiyin FC 2-1 in an ISL fixture here at the Salt Lake Stadium on Friday.
Nigerian striker Kalu Uche opened the host’s account while English defender John Johnson doubled the lead for ATK before Chennaiyin reduced the margin, thanks to Argentine Carlos Salom.
Kolkata brought the match alive with an opportunistic goal in the third minute when its fit-again striker Uche found the mark. The Nigerian got in the line of a powerful header from Brazilian defender Gerson Vieira, who nodded down Karanjit Singh’s goal-kick from the half line to find the former unmarked on top of the Chennaiyin box.
This caught the visitor’s central-defence off guard as Uche had all the space and time to slot the ball home past a hapless Karanjit.
Kolkata doubled the lead in the 13th minute when Johnson capitalised on another defensive error and found the target with a sharp header. The opportunity came off a Manuel Lanzarote free-kick which curved its way to ATK’s English defender who had moved up for the set-piece.
Chennaiyin midfielder Isac Vanmalsawama made it easy for Johnson — missing the clearance — as the letter easily put the ball in the far corner.
Chennaiyin pulled one back in the 17th minute with Salom finding the ATK net with a brilliantly flicked header. Francisco Fernandes made his way up the right flank to effect a cross on the ATK goalmouth as Salom sneaked past Johnson to deflect the ball to the far corner Arindam Bhattacharya at the ATK goal little chance to save.
After first 20 minutes of intense action, the match tapered off to a rather bland exchange as the host got busy in bolstering its defence and the visitor failed to regain the incisiveness that would secure parity.
Picking up its second win of the tournament, ATK moved into the fourth position while Chennaiyin continued to languish at the ninth spot, suffering its fourth loss in five matches.
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