Display of great attacking skills but ATK falls short in front of NEUFC's early penalty
7th November 2015
Venue: Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata
ATK Starting XI: Amrinder SIngh(GK), Denzil Franco, Oftense Nato, Jose Luis Espinosa Arroyo (Tiri), Augustin Fernandes, Jewel Raja, Borja Fernandez (C), Jaime Gavilan Martinez, Mohammed Rafique, Sameehg Doutie, Iain Hume.
North East United FC: Starting XI: Rehenesh (GK), Andre Bikey, Aibor Khongjee, Javier Lopez, Raju, Siam Hanghal, Silas, Herrero, Reagan, Simao Sabrosa (C), Nico Velez.
Riding high on their last match victory over Mumbai City FC, where Atletico de Kolkata routed the Mumbai side with a 1:4 away victory, they always where the favourites to win the ATKvNEU match today at home. North East United FC on the other hand, being the bottom team in the ISL table, was looking forth to improve and rise up the points table by repeating their first leg performance against ATK, where they won 1:0 at home. With a total of 38,456 people attending the match, it was sure to be cracker.>
ATK's starting lineup witnessed a single change wherein Syed Rahim Nabi gave way for the new ATK signee, Mohammed Rafique, who starred in his first match in ISL season 2. The formation remained unchanged at 4-2-3-1, with Iain Hume leading the attack, supported by Doutie and Rafique on both flanks. The Midfield stayed untouched with the ISL Emerging Player Award winner Amrinder Singh guarding the fortress for the home team.
The match started with an even distribution of attack between the two sides, with NEUFC being a bit more dominant. But early in the 7th minute, the entire scenario of the match changed, when NEUFC was awarded a penalty. Sabrosa's corner found no one inside the box, but NEUFC's Lopez went down injured inside the penalty box and the harsh judgement was passed. Simao Sabrosa, the NEUFC marquee player, took the penalty and made no mistake, as the ball went in, inches past Amrinder Singh's outstretched hands.
Riding on the early lead, NEUFC went into a defensive shell. After the early set back, ATK rose to the occasion and battered the NEUFC defence with a number of crosses inside the box, which they were able to resist. Jaime Gavilan from centre midfield, Mohammed Rafique from the right and Sameehg Doutie from the left kept crossing in wonderful balls within the penalty box for others to collect. However, the NEUFC defence held its own amidst adversity. The attack index read 85% in the favour of ATK by the 34th minute.
In the 33rd minute, ATK survived a scare when Nico Velez's ball found the back of the net only to be ruled out for being offside. Even amidst ATKs attacking prowess, NEUFC kept the counter attacks firm and crisp. At the 40th minute, NEUFC had a great chance at goal with no one being there to defend the post, but Tiri's excellent last minute save wasted their opportunity. In the 44th minute, another similar occasion occurred where it would surely have been another NEUFC goal if not for Denzil Franco's spectacular last second touch.
With three minutes of time being added to the clock, ATK came down with a flurry of attack on the NEUFC defence, but failed to find the net. As the half-time whistle blew, the Scoreline read:
ATK 0:1 NEUFC
First Half stats: Ball Possession ATK 54%: 46% NEUFC | Attack Index: ATK 72%:28% NEUFC
The second half started with a double substitution for ATK where Arnab Mondal replaced Jewel Raja and Valmiro Lopes Rocha (Valdo) replaced Oftense Nato. Once play started, ATK got a number of opportunities with a Jaime Gavilan free kick and an Arnab Mondal header, but yet ATK was not lucky enough to find the back of the net. However, the next 10 minutes saw Amrinder Singh in all his glory as he managed to save four sure attempts at goal when NEUFC counter attacked ATK. He headed, jumped and slid so as not to let the flame of an ATK revival die.
The next 15 minutes saw ATK not keeping any stones unturned as they battered the NEUFC defence with some great chances at goal, but they stood rock solid along with their young goalkeeper, Rehenesh.
A series of bad fouls throughout the match by NEUFC on ATK, earned them 4 yellow cards and ATK a number of free kicks, which they couldn't convert to goals. By the 79th minute, the attacking index again read: ATK 85%: 15% NEUFC.
In the 81st minute, the entire Stadium held their breath as Hume was badly fouled and writhed in pain in the middle of the pitch. After Postiga's injury, fans did not want to face the horror of seeing the star striker leave the field. After a few tense moments, he managed to get up and start play.
The last 10-18 minutes, saw ATK battling hard for that equalizer, with exquisite crosses and cheeky passes, but none of them could go anywhere near the net. Even though NEUFC on the other half came very close to adding another goal to the scoreline with wonderful counter attacks, ATK defence led by Amrinder Singh and Tiri managed to keep the danger away.
With a last minute attempt at goal by Iain Hume for ATK, the final whistle was blown and the match ended.
FT Scoreline: Atletico de Kolkata 0:1 North East United FC
Ball possession: ATK 55%: 45% NEUFC,
Total fouls committed: 24 (ATK 9, NEUFC 15)
Total Yellow cards: 4 (ATK 0, NEUFC 4)
In the after match Awards, ATK bagged two of the five awards:
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Sameegh Doutie
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Mohammed Rafique
Even after a hard fought match, disappointment loomed for the ATK boys. In their next match with Kerala Blasters FC in Kochi on the 10th of November, they will surely be looking forward to turn the table and defend their title with gutso. Till then, keep supporting Your Team Your Dream!