In a tense night of Indian Super League, ATK Mohun Bagan came back from 2-0 down to make it 3-2 in the second half against Kerala Blasters. In a match of intense football, Kerala went up 1-0 in the first half, thanks to a wonder goal from Garry Hooper followed by a goal from defender Nhamoinesu in the second half. However, ATK Mohun Bagan staged an incredible comeback through goals from Marcelinho and Roy Krishna.
Kerala opted for a 4-4-2 formation Mohan Bagun played in a makeshift 3-5-2 formation. The major boost for Antonio Habas’ side was the completion of the successful loan deal for Marcelinho from Odisha FC.
The first half started pretty well with both teams threatening each other with long balls and diagonal passes. Kerala dominated the first minutes of the game as Mohun Bagan failed to create a breakthrough in the middle. Kerala created threats early on in the game, with the fullbacks pressing higher, and placed clear cut crosses into the path of their forwards. Meanwhile, ATKMB were trying to deliver balls into Roy Krishna, who was slotting in well in the space left by the KBFC centre back.
The first breakthrough of the game came in the 14th minute, Sandeep Singh delivered a long cross to Gary Hooper who chested it down and curled the ball into the top corner from 40-yards out. Following the goal, Kerala continued to press higher, and nearly scored a second wonder goal through Murray in the 30th min. ATKMB started to gain more momentum in the latter half of the game as Marcelinho started to settle in well with his new teammates. Krishna continued to create early chances for ATKMB in the first half, and had a glancing header that went wide in the 27th minute.
The second half started in favour of Kerala, going 2-0 up in the 51st minute. Sahal’s corner resulted in a scrappy goal by Nhamoinesu at the far post, who jostled off several players to get a tap in. However, ATKMB came back into the game, and they started to pick up play through the middle. The introduction of Manvir Singh at half time solved the missing link in their attack as Marcelinho and Krishna started to find more link-up plays in the middle. The first breakthrough for ATKMB came in the 59th minute as Manvir Singh’s superb pass was brilliantly turned into a goal by Marcelinho who having made a run through the middle lifted it over the goalkeeper. Kolkata then started to really test a sloppy KBFC defence and had 4 shots on target in just over 15 minutes. ATKMB eventually got the better of KBFC in the 65th minute, with a penalty being awarded for a handball by Albino in the box. Roy Krishna didn’t waste the chance blasting it into the left corner to equalise the game for ATKMB.
In the latter half of the game, both teams started to be more physical in their approach, Nhamoinesu was booked for questioning the referee following a tussle between Krishna and Gomez. McHugh was also booked for an unnecessary challenge on Rahul. KBFC managed to create a golden opportunity to take the lead in the dying minutes of the game but was poorly converted in the end by Sahal from the edge of the box. Just as time was ticking down, ATKMB managed to find the winning goal through Roy Krishna, who raced past defender Sandeep and curled the ball into the far corner.
9 players received yellow cards by the end of the game. The win keeps ATKMB second in the ISL table three points behind league leaders Mumbai City FC. Meanwhile, Blasters will stay ninth on 15 points.
KBFC will now face Mumbai City on 3rd of Feb and ATK Mohun Bagan play against Odisha FC on 6th Feb.