ATK Mohun Bagan FC recorded their first ever Indian Super League (ISL) victory with a narrow 1-0 win over Kerala Blasters at the GMC stadium in Bambolim. Although head coach Antonio Lopez Habas will be happy with the three points, both he and his Kerala Blasters counterpart Kibu Vicuna have a lot to work on following a cagey performance from both sides in what was the first ISL game in eight months.
In this feature we take a look at the good, bad and the ugly aspects from today’s season opener. Here goes —
In a closely contested match like this one, you need a spark from somewhere or someone out of the blue. That is exactly what ATK-MB powerhouse Roy Krishna provided in the 67” mark. The Fiji captain pounced on a loose ball at the edge of the Blasters penalty box following a misunderstanding between two defenders, took one touch to steady himself and fired past goalkeeper Albino Gomes into the bottom right corner. This goal meant that the talismanic striker now has a goal or assist against every team that he has faced in the ISL.
We begin our @IndSuperLeague campaign with three vital points, courtesy of a @RoyKrishna21 clinical finish!! 💚❤️
.#ATKMohunBagan #JoyMohunBagan#Mariners #KBFCATKMB #IndianFootball pic.twitter.com/5bH2bELK7E
— ATK Mohun Bagan FC (@atkmohunbaganfc) November 20, 2020
The biggest disappointment from today’s game has to be Michael Soosairaj’s injury in the 14th minute. The lively wing-back started the match extremely well and was looking to get behind Blasters right back Prasanth K at every opportunity.
It was during one such duel that Prasanth caught Soosairaj’s right leg in a seemingly innocuous challenge that sent the former Jamshedpur FC player tumbling on the floor. He went down clutching the back of his knee immediately as the alarm bells started ringing for Habas. Let’s hope it isn’t anything too serious and that he is fit in time for the derby on the 27th.
From a Blasters perspective, the biggest disappointment on the night besides not being able to score was their set-piece delivery. For a side that has so many tall players who can attack the ball during set-pieces, their delivery from corners and free-kicks was extremely poor. Small things like this can add up to make a huge difference and the Tuskers would definitely need to do better in their next outing.
Today’s match clearly underlined the fact that the players will need a little more time to get into the groove after months of sitting idle due to the ongoing pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. The rustiness was clearly visible in the touches and the shots but most of all, in the tackles.
The game was punctuated with a number of unnecessary and mistimed tackles from both sides. The worst of the lot came in the 38” mark when experienced ATK-MB midfielder Pronay Halder made an extremely poor tackle on Blasters captain Cidoncha Fernandez, catching him square on the shin. The incident saw Halder getting booked amidst angry rants from a number of Kerala players. Not something we would like to see more of!