After conceding at the 56th minute against arch-rivals SC East Bengal, no one could have imagined ATK Mohun Bagan gaffer Juan Ferrando to introduce a certain 21-year-old chap 'Nassiri' on the pitch leaving aside the league's deadliest striker Roy Krishna. That one move from the Spaniard changed the course of the match.
Explaining the lad's Derby performance Kibu Vicuna, the man who gave Nassiri the breakthrough to Indian football said, "he was ready to board the train when the opportunity arrived."
Within three minutes of his arrival onto the pitch, the boy equalized with a brilliant right-footed curler and kept his coach's faith. Till the regulation time, it seemed like a stalemate. It was at this moment, Bagan's youngster started the real show.
Kiyan struck his second goal at the 93rd minute with a sublime right-footed volley and gave the lead to the mariners for the first time in the match. Seconds later, he completed his hattrick with a left-footed grounder and snatched full points for ATK Mohun Bagan.
With this phenomenal second-half derby hattrick, the 21-year-old forward once again reminded what the surname 'Nassiri' meant to Indian football decades ago. In Kolkata football, there is a saying, "Derby gives birth to new stars" and yesterday's return leg Kolkata Derby of the Indian Super League was no exception. As yet another 'Nassiri' - Kiyan registered his name in the history books and took over to continue his father Jamshed Nassiri's legacy.
A former youth world cupper with Iran, Nassiri first came to India to pursue higher studies and joined Aligarh University. After a great performance with his university team Jamshed was signed by East Bengal along with two other Iranian players Majid Bishkar and Mahmud Khabbasi.
He made his debut for the Torch Bearers in the 1980 Federation Cup and went on to win the tournament. Thereafter Jamshed's journey in the Kolkata maidan has been almost a fairytale.
Known for his incredible heading ability and cool, calm finishing, Jamshed Nassiri became the first foreigner to score more than a hundred goals in Indian football. Throughout his various spells with East Bengal, he netted 72 goals and became the club's leading foreign goalscorer which was later broken by Chima.
After performing well with the school team, Kiyan plied his trades in age-group teams across Kolkata. Finally, in 2019 he got his breakthrough with Mohun Bagan.
Kiyan impressed Kibu Vicuna with his brilliant performance during pre-season and was promoted to the senior team. He made his senior debut with Mohun Bagan on 1st March 2020 against Trau FC and went on to win the I-League.
In an exclusive interview with The Bridge, the former Mohun Bagan gaffer Kibu Vicuna said, "In the first meeting we had with the Mohun Bagan board, I told them that I want to test the best junior players. We selected four players for the first team. Kiyan was one of them. He is a versatile player and can play as a striker, winger and even in the fullback position."
With his performance in the last evening, Kiyan showed his technical prowess and cool and composed nature. While explaining, what he saw in the training sessions that led to his inclusion in the team Kibu said, "He was technically sound and physically was in good condition. On top of that, he was the fastest player in the team."
After spending one season with the ATK Mohun Bagan reserve team, Kiyan was once again called up to the senior team, this season. Kiyan made his debut in the AFC Cup against Nasaf. And later made his ISL debut against Kerala Blasters.
Kibu believes, "He is a very good executor and a good striker. Most importantly a very humble and well-educated boy. Now If he improves his technical ability and physical prowess, he can be a good footballer"
Kiyan Nassiri once again proved how important it is for youngsters to put the effort in the training ground and wait for the crucial chances to arrive. Nassiri utilized the breakthrough aptly. As he unleashed his class in a time when Bagan was facing difficulties. He rose to the occasion and sailed the Mariner's back to the course single-handedly.
After the conclusion of the match, ATK Mohun Bagan coach Juan Ferrando echoed the same. As he said, "Kiyan has been working hard in the training. He's improving a lot in training sessions. And today when the game was in a very difficult moment we used Kiyan like number nine and he did excellent."