ATK Mohun Bagan bagged all three points in a dominant 2-0 win over struggling Bengaluru FC in the Fatorda Stadium in Goa. Mohun Bagan went 2-0 up early in the first half, with both goals being the product of BFC’s woeful errors. A Penalty from Roy Krishna and a beautiful freekick from Marcelinho was enough for Antonio Habas’s side to kill the game off early.
ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC last played on December 21 and the former came victorious in a tightly contested game which ended 1-0. Since then tides have changed in favour of ATKMB.
Bengaluru FC started with a 4-4-2 formation Mohun Bagan fielded a solid 4-3-1-2 which changed shape quite often during the game.
Bengaluru started the game off in high spirit but struggled to move the ball upfield. This left Chhetri to often fall deeper into the middle to build the play up. Meanwhile, Mohun Bagan were pretty robust as a defensive unit, keeping close tabs on Chhetri. ATKMB’s game plan was pretty straight from the start with them trying to find Roy Krishna and Marcelinho in key areas upfront. These long balls worked exactly as Habas would have expected, as Krishna often found space deep enough in BFC’s half. Marcelinho’s introduction was more than enough for Mohun Bagan, as they have struck gold finding a formidable attacking partner for Krishna. The Brazilian’s perfect passes through the middle produced several options in build-up play for ATKMB. BFC’s defender Pratik Chaudhari struggled to deal with these direct passes that were being fed to Krishna throughout the game.
Early on in the first quarter of the game, BFC had the gtreater possession, but their lack of creativity upfront meant, they struggled to break down ATKMB’s defence. The first major chance for ATKMB came early in 17th minute when Krishna fired a shot on target in a one-on-one position situation but BFC goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh managed to keep the ball away. ATKMB slowly started to find routes through the struggling BFC defence, with Carl McGugh’s left foot screamer being pushed away by Gurpreet in the 31st minute. Elsewhere, BFC managed to create several setpiece opportunities but failed to convert it into a goal.
The first breakthrough of the game came shortly after the drinks break when ATKMB were awarded a penalty after Krishna was fouled inside the box by Pratik. Roy Krishna converted the chance beautifully with the ball flying perfectly into the top right corner of the net. 1-0 up, ATKMB started to put the sloppy BFC defence under constant pressure, which led to the second goal a few minutes later. Marcelinho put ATKMB 2-0 up after he curled in a beautiful freekick, from outside the edge of the box. Gurpreet managed to get a slight touch to the ball but failed to do anything more to keep the ball out.
Struggling to cope with the attacking potential of ATKMB, BFC struggled early on in the second half. A funky strike from Jhingan from a corner was brilliantly driven away from Gurpreet Singh in the 49th minute. BFC continued to give away the ball cheaply, as ATKMB started to create more chances upfront. Manvir Singh’s shot off his right foot, after a great ball from Krishna was saved by Gurpreet Singh in the 59 minute. BFC failed to register any shots in the first 25 minutes of the second half, as Chhetri was constantly put under pressure by the ATK’s defence. ATKMB nearly went 3-0 up, as Javi Hernandez’s fabulous free-kick towards Roy Krishna, whose header, unfortunately, just went wide. The first major chance for BFC came in the 87th minute from Chhetri, who had a right footed shot saved by Arindam.
ATK Mohun Bagan are now just a point behind Mumbai City FC, who are now top of the table and the race to finish top is very much on. ATKMB now move to 33 points from 16 matches and on the other hand, BFC remain stuck in sixth position with 19 points, with their playoff chances diminishing.
BFC will now face leaders Mumbai on February 15 and ATKMB are up against Jamshedpur FC on February 14.