ATK Mohun Bagan was the winner of the first Kolkata derby in the Indian Super League (ISL) with a 2-0 win over SC East Bengal on Friday at Tilak Maidan Stadium.
Roy Krishna scored in the 49th. Minute the first goal of the game, when substitute Manvir Singh in the 85. Minute doubled the advantage of the ATKMB with a brilliant solo effort.
ATK Mohun Bagan’s trainer Antonio Lopez Habas once again proved his tactical acumen as his team sat back in the first 45 minutes to turn on both the press and style in the second.
ATKMB also played like a well-oiled machine, based on the game developed by Habas for which they are best known. After Krishan’s first goal, they leaned back in defense and dragged SCEB onto the field so Manvir could play to his strength and attack with speed and accuracy.
Habas started the game on a 3-5-2 system that wanted to sit back and give the opposing defenders time on the ball. Which could have proven costly when Ville Matti Steinmann was given ample opportunity to set the pace in midfield as the duo of Anthony Pilkington and Jacques Maghoma fell low to reclaim the ball. Carl McHugh stayed behind and helped defend. He acted as an extra player helping his team wherever it was needed. He was rightly named the game’s « hero » for not allowing his defenses to be exposed.
The seasoned trio of Sandesh Jhingan, Tiri and Pritam Kotal coped well with the pressure as Subhasish Bose and Prabir Das were more comfortable attacking than defending. The only time Bose was given nutmeg by his counterpart, Surchandra Chandan, Carl was there to mop up with Sandesh.
Jayesh Rane and Javi Hernanadez wanted to push Steinmann and not leave the same amount of time on the ball as his partner in midfield, Loken Meitei, who plays well on the Wigns and sometimes looks out of line.
Shortly after the break, Krishna proved his talent for goals with a shot that could have been saved by Debjit Majumder in goal, but Jayesh’s midfield tunrover proved costly as Rana Gharami and Narayan Das couldn’t. I can’t cope with the ATKMB attack passing quickly.
Javi received the ball and passed it on to Krishna, who put it in the back of the net as is now expected in every game.
As Fowler looked increasingly tense with his defense, he brought Rana (for Abhishek Ambekar) off and pushed Narayan into the middle. A move that backfired as Prabir took possession of the ball deep in his half and sprayed the field so Manvir could sit on his bike for a light counter-attack.
The rest was like magic from 25 year olds. He ran up the right flank to cut inward and send the ball into the roof of the goal with a thunderous blow, giving ATKMB a 2-0 win.
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ATK Mohun Bagan won the match and boasting right for the first Kolkata derby in the ISL and Habas was a lucky man.
« I’m happy because the team played hard. It was a fantastic performance with a lot of effort and I’m very happy, « said Habas after the game.
« I think we deserved the win because we beat our opponents tonight, » he added.
Robbie Fowler, however, was not happy with the result, but sounded hopeful with the positive results of the game.
« I’m not happy with the result, but we were fine in terms of performance. For a team that has been together for two and a half weeks, I think we performed well. I don’t think there was much to choose from between the teams . . . We put in a great performance in the first half but the result is disappointing, « said Fowler after the game.
SC Ostbengalen, Mohun Bagan A. . C.. . , Indian Super League, Kolkata Derby, ATK
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