ATK reclaim top spot after away win against Mumbai

ATK FC put in a measured performance to beat Mumbai City FC 2-0 at the Mumbai Football Arena on Saturday and reclaimed their spot at the top of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 table. The three points bring ATK on par with FC Goa’s points tally – 21 from 11 matches – but their superior goal difference place them over the Gaurs in the standings. For the Islanders, the loss marks an end to their six-match unbeaten run.

Both sides showed a lot of the intent in the early exchanges, with goalkeepers Amrinder Singh and Arindam Bhattacharja being called into action within the first five minutes of the contest. The start set the overall tone of the match and the sides kept trading chances.

Twelve minutes in, the Islanders created a dangerous chance after some brilliant work by Raynier Fernandes set Amine Chermiti free inside the ATK box. The Tunisian cut the ball back for Modou Sougou, but Sumit Rathi managed to put enough pressure on the striker to force him to shoot straight at Arindam. Almost immediately, ATK managed a chance of their own. Javier Hernandez’s free-kick had Amrinder scrambling momentarily, but the Mumbai custodian did just enough to tip the ball over the crossbar.

Halfway through the first half, Roy Krishna had his first sight at goal after being played in brilliantly by Jayesh Rane. The Fijian, however, dragged his shot wide. The goal did come on the hour mark. Krishna’s cheeky flick opened up space for David Williams, who tactfully held it up before setting up the returning Pronay Halder for the opener. Unfortunately for the midfielder, the touch turned out to be his last involvement of the game as he pulled a hamstring and had to go off. Michael Soosairaj came on as his replacement.

In the 43rd minute, the substitute got on the score sheet. Krishna turned provider as he won his header and directed the ball Soosai’s way. The winger cracked open one of his trademark finishes to double ATK’s lead heading into half time.

The second half, expectedly, saw the home team try to get on the front foot while ATK were content sitting back and looking for openings on the counter-attack. Krishna came close to scoring ATK’s third twice just after the hour mark but hit the post with his first effort of the half. Seconds later, his shot went agonizingly wide of the far post.

Sougou did find the net for Mumbai in the 68th minute, but his goal was eventually ruled out for offside. Spurred on by the move, the home side built up some momentum and created multiple chances within a short phase of time, but a combination of the post, good goalkeeping by Arindam and some resolute defending by ATK players kept the score line to 2-0.

In the 82nd minute, Sougou saw a second goal disallowed on the night after the referee adjudged that he had fouled Arindam before putting the ball in the net. Shortly after, substitute Serge Kevyn missed a header from two yards out as the match slowly approached its conclusion. The contest eventually ended 2-0 in ATK’s favour.

Hero of the Match – Sumit Rathi

The 18-year-youngster can take much of the credit for ATK’s clean sheet on the night. Rathi was a huge presence in ATK’s backline, particularly in the second half, as he denied a very potent Mumbai attack time and again, aided by ten clearances, three tackles, three interceptions and a block. He was named the Hero of the Match.

AWARDS

Club Award – ATK FC

Maruti Suzuki Limitless Player of the Match – Roy Krishna

DHL Winning Pass of the Match – David Williams

ISL Emerging Player of the Match – Michael Soosairaj

Hero of the Match – Sumit Rathi

Watch the match highlights here:

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