Atlético de Kolkata extend lead after win over Highlanders
Atlético de Kolkata extended their stay at the summit of the Hero Indian Super League after recording a 1-0 victory over NorthEast United FC at the Salt Lake Stadium which put them three points clear of chasers Chennaiyin FC. Skipper and marquee player Luis García headed in the only goal of the match in the 51st minute from a Jofre cross to win it for his side.
It was a rather uneventful first half with neither team able to get that all important opener. The hosts however looked the better of the two teams from an attacking point of view. The influential García was the focal point for the Bengal side as he tried to take control of the game early on. In a slight moment of madness, the Highlanders' goalkeeper, Rehenesh TP left his line to collect a long ball forward for Fikru Tereffa. The Ethiopian striker however got there ahead of him just outside the box and the keeper proceeded to foul him and collect a booking. It was a close call for the visitors but the home side began to build from there. At the other end, Durga Boro came close to clinching an opener for the visitors but it wasn't to be.
Kolkata stepped up a gear when they came out in the second half knowing that they required a win to consolidate their hold on the top spot. It did not take long for the breakthrough to come. Fikru stole the ball in the middle of the park and laid it down the left for Jofre who ran through and put in an excellent first time cross. García ran down the centre and placed his header out of the reach of Rehenesh and into the net. The goal seemed to spur the hosts on as they went on the attack looking for a second goal. The visitors however soaked up the pressure and attempted to play on the counter-attack. They did have chances to equalise but failed to take them.
Antonio López Habas will be a relieved man after bagging three points after a while. Kolkata got their last win in Goa on October 23. The league leaders next play Kerala Blasters FC away on November 21. Ricki Harbert will have some work to do as his side hasn't tasted victory in five matches. He will hope the home fixture against stuttering Delhi Dynamos FC on November 24 will turn their fortunes around.
Hero of the Match: Luis García (Atlético de Kolkata) (Watch here)
Swift Moment of the Match: Luis García
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Fikru Teferra (Atlético de Kolkata)
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Arnab Mondal (Atlético de Kolkata)