10-man ATK Mohun Bagan jolt Kerala Blasters FC to take pole position

10-man ATK Mohun Bagan scripted a miraculous comeback and stunned Kerala Blasters FC in a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Saturday in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL).

Adrian Luna (7’ and 64’) headlined the action with a wonderful brace to help put Kerala in the lead twice before David Willaims (8’) and Joni Kauko (90’) helped ATK Mohun Bagan restore parity. Prabir Das, meanwhile, was sent off late in the game.

The heavyweight clash commenced with fireworks from both sides. Kerala Blasters FC drew first blood with captain Luna firing a free-kick into the back of the net in the 7th minute.

However, the celebrations for the opening goal did not last long as the Mariners responded in lightning-quick manner to equalise. Pritam Kotal set up the goal with a wonderful cross to Williams inside the box, who calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

After a frenetic beginning, both sides started to settle but occasional defensive lapses allowed chances at either end. In the 23rd minute, Jorge Pereyra Diaz caught the defender napping and pulled the trigger but Amrinder Singh was awake to it, making a fingertip save.

Lalthathanga Khawlhring came close to putting the Blasters in front around the 39-minute mark However, Amrinder managed to divert his left-footed strike onto the woodwork.

Diaz was once again in the thick of things and attempted twice to break the deadlock in the 62nd minute but was denied on both occasions by Amrinder.

A resolute-looking Kerala Blasters FC finally found a way to break the shackles with Luna producing a moment of magic. He trapped the ball on the edge of the box, sized up his options and rifled the ball into the roof of the net.

After securing the lead, Kerala Blasters FC gained control. The frustration mounted for the Mariners and resulted in emotions flying high, with the referee handing out a flurry of cards. During this sequence, Prabir, who had replaced Pritam Kotal, reacted strongly to a challenge by Luna and was sent off.

There was another twist in the tale though. Kauko, who had been bright throughout the game, blasted the ball past Prabhusukhan Gill in the dying embers, thereby ensuring that ATK Mohun Bagan climbed to the top of the table. The Mariners now have 30 points and are a point clear of Hyderabad FC. Kerala Blasters FC, meanwhile, remain fourth with 27 points.

ATK Mohun Bagan’s next fixture is against Odisha FC on 24th February. Kerala Blasters FC, on the other hand, will take on Hyderabad FC on 23rd February.

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