ATK Mohun Bagan kept their Hero Indian Super League (ISL) semi-final hopes alive after defeating Bengaluru FC 2-0 at the PJN Stadium in Goa on Sunday.

The Mariners came out on top in the mega clash against Bengaluru FC courtesy of Liston Colaco (45’) and Manvir Singh’s goals (85’), and extended their unbeaten run to 14 matches this season.

In a game of high stakes, both sides proceeded with caution while maintaining composure. The first chance of the match was created by the Blues when Prince Ibara was given the opportunity to cast his side into the lead. However, his headed attempt went wide.

Both sides then struggled to create outright chances and jostled for possession of the ball in midfield. It only led to half-hearted attempts from outside the box. Bengaluru FC led in pressing their opponents in the first half with a focus to build from the left flank where Udanta Singh marched ahead to put in crosses.

On the verge of the half-time whistle, ATK Mohun Bagan were dealt a blow when Hugo Boumous suffered an injury and was substituted. Moments later, Bengaluru FC conceded a free kick, which was rifled into the roof of the net by Colaco.

The second half of the match began with ATK Mohun Bagan nearly doubling their lead. In the 56th minute, Manvir drove the counter-attack, and found himself in a one-on-one situation against the goalkeeper. However, he hesitated to take the shot and allowed Alan Costa to fend off the threat.

Three minutes later, the Mariners pressed once more to solidify their position. This time, Carl McHugh set up the chance by sneaking a pass to Colaco, whose shot was saved by the woodwork.

In contrast to the first half, the Blues were on the back foot and lost composure. In the final ten minutes, Bengaluru FC showed urgency but ATK Mohun Bagan continued to dictate the proceedings.

In the 85th minute, Manvir went past a couple of Bengaluru FC defenders, and produced an excellent strike from outside the box – a shot that delivered the Mariners another vital victory.

The defeat means that Bengaluru FC are no longer in the semi-final race. They stand sixth on the points table and only have 26 points from 19 matches. On the other hand, ATK Mohun Bagan drew level with Jamshedpur FC on 34 points, despite having played a game less. 

ATK Mohun Bagan will face Chennaiyin FC on 3rd March in their next encounter while Bengaluru FC will wrap up their Hero ISL 2021-22 season with a match against SC East Bengal on 5th March.