ATK Mohun Bagan recorded their second win of the Indian Super League 2021-22 season by defeating SC East Bengal. The Mariners came away with a 3-0 win against the Red & Gold Brigade at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco da Gama, Goa on Saturday. What is regarded as the biggest rivalry in Indian football was a very one-sided affair.
Goals from Roy Krishna, Manvir Singh, and Liston Colaco made sure that the three points landed in ATKMB's pocket. They dominated the match and did not look under any pressure during the course of it. As for SCEB, they were clearly outplayed in all departments and came away with nothing from the derby.
The game was quite entertaining overall, with brilliant football on display. There were several important highlights from the match that will be part of the discussion going forward. Here are the top-five talking points from the Kolkata derby in the ongoing season eight of the ISL:
Adventurous team selection by Antonio Lopes Habas
Last season, ATKMB was well-known to be a rock-solid defensive unit. Grinding out narrow results became a characteristic of the outfit. However, the story is very different this year. The gaffer picked a very attack-minded team tonight and the scoreline justified his team selection. There were five forward-thinking players who were coming at the final third from every direction.
The Mariners have evolved this season and are very confident in attack. Habas is justifying the philosophy which suggests that attack is the best form of defense. The outfit has scored six goals in their first two matches of the season already. Players like Krishna, Boumos, Colaco, Singh and Kauko will be a menace to every defense.
Roy Krishna's eventuality
One of the most obvious sources of threat from ATK Mohun Bagan was Roy Krishna. The striker made no mistake by scoring the opening goal to send his team in the lead in the 12th minute of the match. He calmly placed his volley in the corner from a low cross from the right flank. The glaring mistake SCEB defenders made for the goal was to leave the Fijian unmarked inside the penalty box.
This proved to be lethal for the Red & Gold Brigade as it broke their resolve after which the team conceded another goal two minutes later. To leave an opportunistic striker like Krishna unmarked was the first and the worst mistake by Diaz's men because until then, his team was in the game and the contest could have gone either way.
Clumsy planning by SC East Bengal
Manolo Diaz fielded a 4-4-2 formation against Jamshedpur FC and had a very positive output from his players. However, the gaffer decided to field a 3-4-3 formation against the Mariners, which came as a surprise, to say the least. There were a few changes to the lineup as well that did not go Diaz's way.
Three defenders at the back gave players like Hugo Boumos and Manvir Singh a lot of room on the wings. The first goal came from a cross from the right flank, the second goal came from the same flank with Manvir finding space latching onto Jonni Kauko's through-ball and the third goal came from Liston Colaco finding space on the left flank. The way SCEB was set up gave their opponents multiple chances in the first half and they took full advantage of their chances.
Antonio Perosevic and Daniel Chukwu must start together
The change in team formation by Manolo Diaz saw Daniel Chukwu start from the bench while Antonio Perosevic started as the sole forward. This change in team formation had defensive and attacking drawbacks as Perosevic did not get enough space to influence the gameplay. He was particularly impressive in the previous game while taking on the defenders with his dribbling ability.
Daniel Chukwu played as the target man and used his strength to hold the ball up and bring players into the game. The tactician must find a way to incorporate both attackers together in the lineup. The 4-4-2 system gives the team more balance and better numbers in the midfield.
ATK Mohun Bagan sealed the game early on
The derby was not the most competitive, to say the least. In the past, games between these two sides were full of passion and fight from both sets of players. ATKMB was too strong tonight and the game was decided in the first 15 minutes by the looks of it. The opening goal by Krishna and the second goal two minutes later by Manvir Singh deflated SCEB's hopes of a comeback.
The game was over from that point onwards and the body language of Diaz's men was confirmation of the same. Habas' men could have scored a lot more goals if they were clinical with their finishing. The Red & Gold Brigade must forget this embarrassing defeat as soon as possible and focus on the matches to come.