ISL 2018: ATK keeps 4th clean sheet, holds NorthEast to goalless draw

The draw was third in a row for NorthEast United, which moved up to second place with 20 points from 11 matches.

ATK and NorthEast United players tussle for the ball in the NorthEast box.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

NorthEast United played out its third consecutive draw in the Indian Super League, sharing the honours this time with ATK at the Indira Gandhi Athletic stadium here Saturday.

After draws against Jamshedpur and Bengaluru, where it led till the closing stages of the game, NorthEast United was held to a goalless draw by ATK following a slow-paced game.

NorthEast United has scored only one goal in its last three fixtures but the point gained saw it reclaim the second spot with 20 points from 11 games. ATK is still sixth with 16 points from 11 matches.

Match highlights

The match got off to a sedate start as neither team found any sort of attacking rhythm. Though the home side saw more of the ball in the opening exchanges, it was unable to trouble the ATK defence which looked compact.

The first attempt on goal came in the 21st minute, when Redeem Tlang showed good change of pace to work some space to shoot. However, his grounder was collected by an alert Arindam Bhattacharya in the ATK goal.

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After a period of midfield battle, ATK forced its first chance when Everton Santos sent the ball to Balwant Singh with a shrewd lob but the Indian striker hit it straight to NorthEast goalkeeper Pawan Kumar.

The sloppy nature of the match continued for the rest of the half but the host was dealt a blow on the stroke of half-time when defender Mislav Komorski was stretchered off injured.

Coach Eelco Schattorie was forced to send in Gurwinder Singh instead.

Just before the end of the half, ATK captain Manuel Lanzarote’s free-kick looked set to be headed in by Hitesh Sharma but Keegan Perera made a crucial intervention to keep the match goalless.

The slow-paced nature of the game continued in the second half as well with chances at a premium.

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Even the substitutions made in the second half failed to provide the spark and the next real chance came in the 75th minute, when Bartholomew Ogbeche unleashed a powerful effort from the edge of the box which went straight into the waiting hands of the ATK goalkeeper.

ATK, however, did have a couple of good chances towards the end.

Everton’s shot from close-range after a free-kick from Noussair El Maimouni was blocked late in the game, and with a minute left to be played, Andre Bikey saw a header from a Maimouni corner cleared off the line by Gurwinder as the match ended to a draw.