ATK snatches a draw from the grasps of NEUFC at the 90th minute
17th November 2016
Venue: Rabindra Sarobar Stadium, Kolkata
ATK Starting XI: Debjit Majumder(GK), Henrique Fonseca Sereno, Arnab Mondal, Robert Lalthlamuana, Prabir Das, Borja Fernandez(C), Stephen Paul Pearson, Lalrindika Ralte, Javier Lara Grande, Iain Hume, Helder Postiga
Northeast United FC Starting XI: Subrata Paul(GK), Nirmal Chettri, Robin Gurung, Gustavo Lazzaretti(C), Mailson Alves, Rowllin Borges, Seityasen Singh, Koffi Christian N'dri, Katsumi Yusa, Nicolas Leandro Velez, Emiliano Alfaro.
With the last Eastern derby of ISL 2016 being played at Kolkata, the emotions surrounding the match was huge. While ATK was looking forward to hold their form and take all three crisp points to solidify their position in the top 4, Northeast was looking to pull themselves up from the bottom of the Points table.
ATK came back to the city of joy after a series of away matches and was looking forward to the home support as well as to the repetition of their 1st leg performance, where they beat Northeast to two goals to one, thanks to Postiga's brilliance.
Jose Molina went forward with the 4-2-3-1 formation while making three changes in the team sheet. ATK veteran Arnab Mondal returned in the place of Tiri to take guard of the defence alongside Sereno, Lalthlamuana and Prabir Das. The midfield had Captain Borja Fernandez teaming up with Pearson, who replaced Jewel Shaikh. Javi Lara replaced the injured Sameehg Doutie at the right wing supported by Ralte on the opposite. Postiga and Hume led the attack while the safe hands of Debjit Majumdar guarded the fortress.
The match started with ATK in full action. Within the first 4 minutes, ATK had managed to throng Northeast with their presence. However, an unfortunate incident marked the starting of the game.
A defensive mistake at the back cost ATK an opening goal. Sereno tried to pass the ball to Arnab at the far back but his shot lacked power and before Mondal could reach the ball, Velez raced in to collect the ball, went past the diving hands of Debjit and lodged the ball in an empty net to give Northeast the lead.
After this incident, ATK came back strongly in an attempt to get an equaliser. Free kicks and corners and long crosses across the field kept the NEUFC defence on their toes. Though NEUFC occasionally counter-attacked, Hume, Postiga, Borja, Lara and Prabir Das kept thronging their defence. By the 25th minute, the possession statistics read 58% in the favour of ATK, while the attacking index 10 minutes later read 78% in favour of the home team.
In the 27th, 36th and 39th minute, ATK came very close to score. Postiga's powerful aim at goal, Sereno's header from a Javi Lara free kick and Pearson's shot from the edge of the penalty box were all collected by the experienced hands of the NEUFC keeper, Subrata Paul.
With 2 minutes added to the first half, ATK took a last attempt when Borja's cross from the midfield found Ralte at the edge of the box but he completely missed to collect the ball. The referee thereafter, whistled to bring the first half to an end.
HT Scoreline: Atletico de Kolkata 0:1 Northeast United FC
Jose Molina made a tactical substitution at the halfway mark when he brought in the young emerging player, Abinash Ruidas in the place of Ralte. The half started with most of the match being played out in the midfield.
ATK came extremely close to score in the 52nd minute, thanks to Lara's brilliance. ATK got a corner and Lara surprised the NEUFC defence when he curled in the ball towards goal directly from the corner spot. It went past Paul's outstretched hands only to find Nirmal Chhetri making a gasping save with a last second header on the goal line.
The next 10 minutes saw NEUFC's attacking display as they tried to break the ATK defence again and again only to be thwarted each time.
In the 72nd and 82nd minute, Debjit made two fantastic saves to restrict two sure shot goals. Katsumi's cross found Alfaro in the front who headed the ball in only to find it being collected by a diving Debjit. In the second instance, Alfaro had an open goal to head the ball into, but Debjit managed to dive and deny NEUFC a double lead when he shoved the ball away from the goal line.
Molina brought in fresh legs and more finesse to the attack when he substituted Pearson for Juan Belencoso and Borja Fernandez for Ofentse Nato, who had his first start of the season.
ATK continued to press in the closing 10 minutes of the game and was finally rewarded at the 90th minute mark. ATK was awarded a free kick for a foul on Prabir Das and Lara took position to spearhead the set piece. His curling shot found Postiga at the far left of the goal who headed the ball towards the center for Hume to hit home. Hume made no mistake as he raced past everyone and sent the ball in from an acrobatic touch to gift ATK the equaliser in the dying minutes, as the stadium erupted.
Even though 5 minutes of injury time was added to the final half, none of the teams could break the other's defence again and the match drew to a close.
FT Scoreline: Atletico de Kolkata 1:1 Northeast United FC
Possession: ATK 56%:44% NEUFC
Shots on Goal: ATK 6:3 NEUFC
Number of Passes: ATK 494:318 NEUFC
Passing Accuracy: ATK 69%:66% NEUFC
Crosses: ATK 23:13 NEUFC
In the after match Awards, ATK bagged two awards:
DHL Winning Pass of the Match: Helder Postiga
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Iain Hume
Two main players of ATK also registered two new ISL records:
Most Starts made by a player in ISL: Borja Fernandez (41)
A Player who have scored against every ISL team: Iain Hume
ATK now sits at fourth on the points table. Their next match is at Chennai against Chennaiyin FC on the 20th of November, where ATK would love to garner all three points to solidify their position in the Top 4.
Till then, have a great time and continue to chant #AamarBukeyATK!