ATK Mohun Bagan beat Bengaluru FC 1-0 in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Monday in what was the Blues’ first defeat of the season. David Williams scored the only goal of the match in the 33rd minute from a brilliant solo effort following an equally good Carl McHugh pass.
The first few minutes of the match were quite attritional as both sides tried to grab hold of the midfield. The first real chance of note fell to Bagan when Williams’ pass down the left channel was transferred inside by Roy Krishna to Edu Garcia, whose cutback for Manvir Singh was intercepted by Rahul Bheke. The Mariners slowly gained the upper hand in the match as they stifled Bengaluru’s main creative outlet, Dimas.
Coming into the game, they were the only team in the league to not have conceded a goal from open play and it didn’t look like they were in the mood to allow that to change. Krishna and Manvir were both looking to get behind Bengaluru’s high defensive line as Williams dropped back and picked them out time and again.
Bengaluru’s first chance fell to Erik Paartalu in the 19th minute as a sweeping clearance from Gurpreet found him clear on goal. Unfortunately for Carles Cuadrat’s men, his header found Arindam Bhattacharjee’s eager arms. It was Sunil Chhetri’s turn next, as his left-footed shot was again straight at Arindam in goal. Williams fired his goal soon after as he latched onto a beautiful pass from the outside of McHugh’s left foot, came inside and rifled it in past Gurpreet in the top right corner (1-0).
Cuadrat brought in Suresh Wangjam at half-time as Bengaluru tried reclaiming the midfield. However, the mobility of Krishna, Williams and Manvir meant they almost always had an extra man dropping deep and opening up a passing channel for the defenders and midfielders. Another effort from Williams went just over the goalpost as the game receded to a slower pace and started being played out mostly in the middle of the park.
It was ATK Mohun Bagan who had the next big chance. Tiri’s clearance from deep found Krishna who won a 50-50 header and also managed to get a first-time shot at goal from the resulting loose ball. Cleiton Silva, who made a number of silly fouls all night, came close next. Udanta made an impressive run down the right and his well-aimed cutback was shot just wide by the Brazilian.
As Habas shored up his defence with some reinforcements, Cuadrat shifted to a back 3 as Pratik Chaudhari and Bheke both came off. However, nothing seemed to work for the Blues as they rarely managed to cause any sort of discomfort for Arindam. The second half ended the same way the first half had as Habas’ side held on for their fifth win of the season. They are now second on the table, just behind Mumbai City FC on goal difference. Their only concern from today’s match would be Edu Garcia’s hamstring, which forced the Spanish midfielder to limp off the field in the dying minutes. Bengaluru stay third with 12 points from seven games and may be overtaken by NorthEast United if they win tomorrow.