Keane bags winner as ATK finish above NorthEast
ATK ensured they didn’t finish rock-bottom of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 standings by registering a 1-0 win over NorthEast United FC at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Sunday. The hosts’ recently appointed caretaker coach Robbie Keane scored the only goal of the contest in the 10th minute.
NorthEast had the first chance of the game in the 6th minute after John Mosquera passed the ball to Maic Sema. With plenty of options to choose from, Sema opted for goal but ended up finding the side-netting instead.
The hosts went on to take the lead four minutes later when Conor Thomas found Keane with a delightful long ball. ATK’s top-scorer this season had timed his run to perfection and beat his marker before poking the ball into the back of the net.
The Highlanders thought they had equalised moments later when Malemngamba Meitei found Mosquera inside the box with an intelligent pass. The Colombian forward rippled the back of the net but unfortunately for NorthEast, the linesman had already raised his flag for offside.
Mosquera then missed a glorious opportunity to give his side the leveller in the 36th minute after Helio Pinto completed a smart interception and passed to the Colombian. Mosquera used his pace to beat his marker but delayed his shot in a one-on-one situation, which resulted in the ATK goalkeeper making a save to keep it at 1-0 heading into the break.
The first chance of the second half went to ATK’s Sibongakonke Mbatha, who Keane found brilliantly with a pass. The South African’s shot, however, was high and wide of the target much to the relief of the visitors.
NorthEast responded and went forward intent on an equaliser as Mosquera wasted another golden chance from a one-on-one situation. After being played through on goal by Rowllin Borges, the Colombian smashed his effort straight at the ATK custodian this time around.
ATK almost doubled their lead two minutes after the hour-mark when a quick counter-attack saw Zequinha and Mbatha combine delightfully to create an opening. Mbatha’s eventual shot went inches wide of goal as NorthEast breathed a sigh of relief.
NorthEast pushed hard in search of an elusive goal as the game reached its closing stages. ATK, however, defended resolutely to see out any late pressure from the visitors and end their campaign with a win.
Club Award: ATK
Swift Limitless Player: Soram Poirei
DHL Winning Pass of the Match: Conor Thomas
Amul Fittest Player: Sibongakonke Mbatha
Emerging Player: Halicharan Narzary
Hero of the Match: Robbie Keane
Watch the match highlights here: