ATK build chances but a late goal seals the deal for Mumbai
25th October 2016
Venue: Rabindra Sarobar Stadium, Kolkata
Atletico de Kolkata Starting XI : Debjit Majumder (GK), Robert Lalthlamuana, Arnab Mondal, Jose Luis Espinosa Arroyo, Prabir Das, Stephen Pearson, Borja Fernandez(C), Javier Lara Grande, Abinash Ruidas, Sameehg Doutie, Iain Hume.
Mumbai City FC Starting XI : Albino Gomes (GK), Anwar Ali, Lucian Goian, Gerson Vieira, Aiborlang Khongjee, Sehnaj Singh, Alves Cafu, Ralte, Krisztian Vadocz, Sony Norde, Diego Forlan(C).
In ATK's third home game at a trot, the city woke up with the hope to witness ATK take pole position in the ISL League table through a win and keep their unbeaten record intact this season. On the other side was Mumbai City FC, waiting to get back their composure after a four match winless streak.
With the football Legend, Thierry Henry, being present at the Stadium to watch his first ISL match, the buzz around this particular game was huge. After all, the King was coming to the Mecca of Football.
Jose Molina made a number of changes in the Starting XI compared to the previous game against Delhi, though the 4-2-3-1 formation was maintained. In the defense, Arnab Mondal replaced the suspended Henrique Sereno while Robert Lalthlamuana started in the place of Pritam Kotal, alongside Tiri and Prabir Das. In the midfield, Stephen Pearson joined captain, Borja Fernandez, after coming back from suspension. Abinash Ruidas replaced Lalrindika Ralte at the left wing, while Javi Lara replaced Juan Belencoso to take the central position behind Iain Hume, who lead the attack, and Sameehg Doutie. Debjit Majumder was the custodian under the post.
Another good news for the fans was Helder Postiga being at the bench, after missing three matches due to injury.
The first half started off with an even composure until the 4th minute, when Borja sent a wonderful cross above the head of the Mumbai defenders for Doutie, but the keeper collected it before he could convert. On the other hand, Norde counter attacked for Mumbai but his shot went way off the target.
The next few minutes saw Hume and Doutie trying to build chances while Norde and Forlan trying to find loopholes in the ATK defense. Debjit saved a ground shot taken across the face of the goal while Forlan's first shot of the game went off target. By the first 15 minutes, the attacking index read 72% in the favour of Mumbai, but ATK gained momentum then onward.
ATK set up the attack through Borja, Doutie and Ruidas but failed to get past. Mumbai counter attacked again with a flurry of chances inside the box but defenders kept them at bay. Hume was yellow carded in the 22nd minute, but he came back stronger within a minute. ATK had a great chance to score when Hume and Doutie's wonderful partnership left Doutie with ample space to take an aim at goal but he unfortunately slipped. A free kick was awarded a minute later which was taken by Javi Lara. He hit the wall but the ball rebounded and he again took a second aim but missed the post by mere inches.
ATK continued to throng the Mumbai defense with their long crosses, which notched up the attacking index to 52% in the favour of ATK, by the 30th minute. However, Debjit showed his class again as he ensured that Norde's perfect shot at goal does not find the back of the net by diving far and wide. In the 36th minute, he again made a crucial save from a Forlan free kick. Abinash received a yellow card in the meanwhile, for fouling Sehnaj Singh.
The final five minutes of the first half saw ATK going all out to garner a lead. Hume failed to go past the last defender after duping three defenders while Abinash Ruidas' pass was deflected away for a corner.
With a single minute added to the clock, the first half came to an end with neither of the teams being able to break the other's defence.
At half time, the scoreline read:
Atletico de Kolkata 0:0 Mumbai City FC
First Half stats:
Possession: ATK 49% : 51% MUM
The second half started with Jose Molina substituting Abinash Ruidas for debutant Bidyananda Singh, who played his first game for ATK. His impact was evident in the starting minutes of the second half when he sent an accurate cross from the left wing for Hume to head home from close range, but Hume failed to reach on time. A few minutes later, Lara's deflected corner found him but he completely mistimed his shot.
On the other hand, Norde tried to put Debjit at test only to hit the ball wide. In the 56th minute, ATK built up another chance from a free kick set piece when Lara sent the ball to the far corner of the net for Tiri to head in, but the latter failed to keep the ball in play.
The next 15 minutes saw ATK setting up chances through the teamwork of Hume, Doutie, Prabir, Lara and Bidyananda while Mumbai tried to keep the ATK defense on their toes with shots from Cafu and Vadocz.
At the 71st minute, Hume was gifted with a wide opening to take advantage of, but his shot was collected by Mumbai's keeper. Meanwhile, Molina substituted Pearson for Juan Belencoso to add more depth to the attack.
It was a complete ATK show in the first 25 minutes of the second half, where the attacking index shot up to 91% in the favour of the home team.
However, in the 79th minute, ATK conceded a goal. Norde came in from the left flank and sent the ball across the face of the goal to Forlan who was left unguarded. The gifted Uruguayan made no mistake and lodged the ball at the top of the net, even though Debjit had managed to get a hand to it.
With ATK going into full attacking mode, Molina introduced Didika in the place of Arnab Mondal to take the game forward. A foul ensued in the 84th minute on Hume and ATK was given a free kick. A brilliant set piece was executed by ATK, when Lara's cross found an unguarded Hume at the far right corner of the net whose crucial touch was unfortunately, saved by the keeper.
Three minutes of injury time was added to the final half of play with ATK continuing to press forward from all directions. A ray of hope emerged in the 2nd minute of extra time, where Hume was fouled at the edge of the box and a free kick was awarded from close range. With the last chance of the game on his shoulders, Lara made no mistake as he sent the ball over the player wall and towards the net, only to be thwarted again by the Mumbai keeper.
With a last chance and a spirited display, ATK registered their first defeat of the season when the Referee blew the final whistle.
FT Scoreline: Atletico de Kolkata 0:1 Mumbai City FC
Possession: ATK 53% : 47% MUM
Shots on target: ATK 4:2 MUM
No. of Passes: ATK 449:325 MUM
Crosses: ATK 22:11 MUM
In the after match Awards, ATK bagged the following award:
Swift Moment of the Match: Debjit Majumdar
After three consecutive games at home, ATK embark on an Away Trail for the next three matches. With Mumbai going up to the first position in the ISL League table, Kolkata now resides at the third place.
ATK's next match is against NorthEast United FC at Guwahati on 28th October.
Till then, let the players know that the fans will be behind them no matter what happens and will keep on chanting #AamarBukeyATK!