A fabulously contested match ends with Mumbai taking away the match from the table toppers
4th December 2015
Venue: Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata
ATK Starting XI: Juan Calatayud(GK), Rino Anto, Jose Luis Espinosa Arroyo (Tiri), Arnab Mondal, Nallapan Mohanraj, Borja Fernandez (C), Jaime Gavilan Martinez, Mohammed Rafique, Sameehg Doutie, Arata Izumi, Iain Hume.
Mumbai City FC Starting XI: Subrata Paul (GK), Cmovs, Rowilson, Bertin (C), Pereira, Bustos, Shirodkar, Selim Benachour, Sabar Singh, Soni Norde, Sunil Chhetri.
Coming into today’s match at the Salt Lake Stadium, Atletico de Kolkata was always the favourites, having won their last three matches by routing their opponents with a fantastic attacking display. Mumbai City FC on the other hand, was already out of the semi-finals and came into the match with the aim of not finishing the season as the bottom placed team. With ATK beating Mumbai by a 1: 4 margin in their last match, the odds were all in favour of ATK.
With a humongous crowd of 61,276 in attendance at the Salt Lake Stadium for ATK’s last league match this season, the match was sure to be a cracker.
Head Coach Antonio Lopez Habas made a number of changes in the starting line-up. Amrinder Singh was replaced by ATK’s No.1 Juan Calatayud, Arnab Mondal came in the place of Augustin Fernandes and Mohammed Rafique in the place of Oftense Nato. The formation remained unchanged at 4-2-3-1, with Iain Hume leading the attack, supported by Izumi and Rafique on both flanks and Doutie behind. The Midfield stayed untouched while Arnab joined the defending stalwarts to guard the fortress at the back with Calatayud as the custodian.
The match started with an opportunity for ATK, holding the hands of a free kick. Gavilan took the kick and managed to put a perfect shot in, but the players failed to capitalize. In the 7th and 8th minute, Mumbai broke through and came extremely close to scoring but was thwarted by Calatayud. Thereafter, ATK went back to its attacking prowess with the likes of Doutie, Borja, Arata and Gavilan keeping the Mumbai defense under pressure.
In the 20th minute, ATK was seconds away from registering their first goal but Doutie was ruled offside. Both teams continued to attack but it was in the 26th minute that Mumbai broke the deadlock. Selim Benachour’s lovely cross found Soni Norde who weaved pass the ATK defenders and blasted it across Calatayud to register the first goal.
The next few minutes saw ATK coming in full force with their attack but failing to find the equalizer. On the other half, Norde and Chhetri continued to apply pressure with shots and passes within the box.
With two minutes added to the first half of play, Mumbai seemed to end the half with an advantage. But ATK struck in the dying minutes, when Rafique was fouled within the penalty box by Mumbai’s Cmov and a penalty was awarded to ATK. Iain Hume walked up to take the spot kick. He stepped up confidently and converted the penalty. He managed to confuse the keeper who jumped in the wrong direction as he calmly slotted the ball into the bottom right corner.
The whistle for Half Time blew with ATK managing to pull back things together on the right track.
ATK 1:1 MCFC
First Half stats: Ball Possession ATK 41%: 59% MCFC| Attack Index: ATK 52%:48% MCFC
The second half brought with it ATK’s first substitution, wherein Valdo came in for Sameehg Doutie. The very first minute again saw a glorious chance for ATK, but Rafique failed to convert it. Both Mumbai and ATK continued to throng the opponent’s defense with well-calculated shots and great teamwork, only to come out unlucky.
The 65th minute saw Valdo almost scoring the second, only to be adjudged offside. ATK was awarded a number of free-kicks but Mumbai was always on their guards. In the 77th minute, Rino Anto went down injured post a knock on his head. The stretcher was called for but he managed to get up and start play after treatment.
However, the 81st minute gave fire to the contest. Tiri fouled Aguilera inside the box and the referee awarded Mumbai a spot kick, which Sunil Chhetri came up to take. He showed good composure and took the spot kick with a well directed shot in the bottom right corner, while Calatayud dived in the other direction.
ATK was yet not ready to let go of a last match win. Again in the dying minutes of the final half, ATK scored holding the hands of the star striker Arata Izumi. A great cross was collected deftly by him as he blasted his volley at the back of the net, with the keeper having no chance to save it.
With four minutes added to the final half, all were prepared for a draw but some action was still left. In the 92nd minute, Mumbai made sure they do not finish the league as the bottom placed team. Soni Norde again came to the rescue with his second of the night. A fantastic Benachour cross found him in good position within the box, as the ATK defenders could not gauge his run. His shot hit the near post and deflected off to enter the net.
With that, the final action of the evening came to an end and the referee blew the whistle soon after.
FT Scoreline: Atletico de Kolkata 2:3 Mumbai City FC
Ball possession: ATK 43%: 57% NEUFC
In the after match Awards, ATK bagged two of the awards:
DHL Winning Pass Award: Sameegh Doutie
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Rino Anto
A fabulously contested match saw Mumbai getting the better of the First Champions in the last minute. However, ATK still stands as the table toppers and is sure to end the league stage by being one among the top two teams.
As ATK had already qualified for the Semis, they will face any of the top 4 teams who qualify. The Semi-finals will start from the 11th of December. Till then, keep supporting Your Team Your Dream!