Ten-man ATK hold Mumbai City to enter the final
Atlético de Kolkata played out a 0-0 draw with Mumbai City FC at the Mumbai Football Arena on Tuesday evening to enter the final of Hero Indian Super League 2016. Robert Lalthlamuana was sent off towards the end of the first half but Mumbai couldn’t breakdown ATK’s stubborn resistance as Jose Molina’s men held on with 10 men to win the tie 3-2 on aggregate.
Mumbai had the first chance of the evening when skipper Sunil Chhetri found himself through on goal with just ATK goalkeeper Debjit Majumder to beat. The Indian international delayed his shot before firing straight at Majumder to the disappointment of the home crowd.
Kolkata had a difficult opportunity in the 20th minute when Abinash Ruidas put in a quality cross from the left. The cross found the diminutive Bidyananda Singh in the box but he couldn’t make a proper connection with the ball. It turned out to be his last involvement in the game as he picked up an injury and was replaced by Lalrindika Ralte.
The substitute nearly made instant impact just before the half hour mark when another Ruidas cross from the left wasn’t convincingly cleared by Mumbai’s defence. The ball came to Lalrindika, who volleyed straight into Sena Ralte.
The game took a huge twist three minutes before half-time when Lalthlamuana received a second yellow card and was given his marching orders, making it 10-v-11 for the entire the second period as the first half ended goalless with ATK still ahead in the tie, leading 3-2 on aggregate.
Sony Norde took Mumbai’s first shot within a minute of the restart but he failed to test Majumder in goal. Matias Defederico was next to have a go at goal a minute later and the Argentine’s shot did manage to force Majumder into a save.
ATK had a big chance to break the deadlock on the hour mark when Javi Lara got the better of Sena Ralte on the right and put in a good cross. However, Juan Belencoso wasn’t on the same wavelength with his Spanish compatriot and failed to read the cross.
Kolkata had another huge opportunity to kill off the tie in the 76th minute after a Lara free-kick from the right was met in the box by Stephen Pearson, who sent his attempt over the crossbar. Defederico took a shot from range six minutes later but he couldn’t keep his effort on target.
Lalrindika had two attempts on goal soon after in the space of two minutes but hit both his efforts over the crossbar with his weaker right foot. Mumbai then had two huge opportunities of getting the breakthrough in the 88th minute after Norde set up Lucian Goian inside the box only for the Romanian to scuff his shot with Jackichand Singh blazing his shot over the bar as well on the follow-up.
Goian volleyed on goal from distance in the second minute of extra time but Majumder was perfectly positioned in goal to make the save and help Kolkata over the line as they entered their second final in three years.
Club award: Shared by both clubs
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Borja Fernandez
DHL Winning Pass of the Match: Lucian Goian
Maruti Suzuki Swift Moment of the Match: Debjit Majumder
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Pritam Kotal
Hero of the Match: Javi Lara