ATK delivers its first home win with Pele's blessings
13th October 2015
ATK's first home match against Kerala Blasters FC was destined to be a massive contest with both teams playing for the win in the presence of the footballing legend - Pele. The God of Football, as he is called, had graced the Stadium and the city with his ethereal presence and even though he is rooted for the yellow shirts all his life, today he was supporting the red & white jerseys of Atletico De Kolkata.
It is said that in football, the first 5 to 7 minutes of the game are a prognostication of its results, which was seen today as Arata Izumi scored his second goal of the season and first on home soil, to put ATK in the lead at the 6th minute. The 61,237 strong crowds of "FanATKs" erupted in joy as they saw their beloved home team snatch an early lead from the very beginning.
Arata Izumi had earlier announced his arrival in a spectacular fashion to the rest of the league with his side-footed volley against FC Goa in the last match, giving everyone a hint of what he's capable of. Izumi converted a rebound from Hume after charging through the defence and hitting the ball at the far corner of the net.
ATK was playing without Marquee player Helder Postiga and Baljit Sahni. Postiga is out with an injury while Sahni received a Red Card in ATK's last match against FC Goa. Despite that, they charged ahead with the attack. By the 36th minute, the attacking index showed 81% for ATK and only 19% for KBFC.
The 44th minute saw the first yellow card of the match which was shown to KBFC's Josu for a foul on Arata Izumi.
Four minutes of extra time added to the first half saw more charging by the home side and one missed attempt at the goal by Kerala, while the loud and energetic fans churned out one Mexican wave after another, creating a surreal footballing atmosphere at the Salt Lake stadium.
By Half Time, the score stood at 1-0 with 52% ball possession by ATK, with 6 total shots at the goal, 2 shots on target and 3 fouls compared to Kerala's 48% possession with 4 total shots at the goal, 2 shots on target and 5 fouls.
At the 48th minute, Ramandeep pulled a charging Arata to the ground to gain a yellow card and give a free kick to the home side which was unfortunately deflected off Hume's tough head and sailed over the bar, resulting in a lost chance for ATK.
At the 53rd minute, Javi Lara scored his first goal on Indian soil. He collected an experienced cross from Ian Hume, and then tactfully charged past Perone and Ramage. The golden rule of defending is the to keep the attacker away from the goal which Kerala got wrong when Javi Lara charged through patronage and used a slight deflection of Ramage's calf to score the second goal across from right to left. The 29 year old's skill was at play, clearly demonstrating the great things to come from the young Spaniard.
The 57th minute saw ATK's first substitution, when Clifford Miranda came in for Arata Izumi.
At this point, the fans at Salt Lake stadium wanted a 3-0 lead, and Coach Antonio Habas wanted to give them just that, as ATK's second substitution saw Sushil Kumar Singh replacing Nadong Bhutia in the 76th minute. However, the 79th minute saw Kerala's first breakthrough as Ramage lofted the ball into the box and Dagnall converted it home by tackling the unshakeable ATK defense.
What was looking like a routine win for the home side at 79th minute became almost an equaliser at the 81st; such is the beauty of this game called Football.
ATK made another substitution at the 83rd minute, with Valdo replacing a well deserving Javi Lara, who was rightly adjudged as the 'Hero of the Match'.
Kerala stepped up its game in the last 20 minutes of the Second Half. But their efforts were thwarted when Mehtab Hossain received a well deserved Red Card (two yellow cards in the same match) due to a foul on Valdo, which saw him walking out of the ground and reduced KBFC to 10 men.
Four minutes extra time added more thrill and suspense to the competitive game at the Salt Lake stadium. The 91st minute saw a solid shot at goal by Dagnall which was defended by a heroic dive by our ATK goalkeeper, Juan Calatayud. A minute later he again proved his fantastic goalkeeping by snatching the ball away from a charging Dagnall.
The game finally ended with ATK having possession of the ball, trying to score a third goal. The crowd cheered as ATK dominated its first home match as the Defending Champions and emerged victorious. ATK now leads the league table of the Hero Indian Super League 2015 season.
ATK's next match is on the 17th of October with FC Pune City in Pune. Don't forget to keep supporting and showering love on #YourTeamYourDream.