Home FOOTBALL ISL 2020-21: ATKMB get the W on opening night against Kerala Blasters

ISL 2020-21: ATKMB get the W on opening night against Kerala Blasters

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The long-awaited kick-off to the Indian Super League season was indeed a welcome one as ATK Mohun Bagan locked horns with the Kerala Blasters in a game that provided the expected win for ATKMB but the game panned out way different than the expectations of the fans and the pundits on opening night.

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Kerala Blasters started as the underdogs in the game as Kibu Vicuna started his reign as the manager of the Yellow Army. Antonio Habas is the more familiar face in the ISL while his energy was back once again down the touchline as the manager of the upgraded ATK Mohun Bagan. The intent from the Blasters was clear since the kickoff. They weren’t going to be scared to be on the ball, they wanted to play out from the back and build the game from midfield, a style which they successfully tested in their 4 pre-season matches. While this worked perfectly in Habas’ favor as his teams always like to stay deep and defend their way out with a sucker-punch of a counter-attacking threat further enriched by Roy Krishna’s finishing.

ATK Mohun Bagan suffered an early injury in the 12th minute as Soosairaj went down after getting smacked on the backside of his knee and hamstring by Prashanth. Subhashish Bose came on to replace the injured forward which in turn provided more defensive and counter-attacking prowess to ATKMB.

Kerela Blasters dominated the ball in the first half with 69% of the possession in their favor while playing 275 passes in the half while ATKMB could only muster about 122 in the half, such was the sheer panache with which the Blasters looked comfortable in the game. The team from Kolkata did possess a threat on the counter-attack with Roy Krishna missing a couple of half-decent chances, which was also a credit to the Blasters center-back pairing who were colossal in the first half. The best chance of the half fell to the Kerala Blasters in which Jessel Carneiro & Cidoncha looked to create the majority of the positive play.

ATKMB were always ready to back themselves to hit with the sucker-punch which is exactly what they did in the 67th minute in the second half of the game where Roy Krishna capitalized on a mistake by two Blasters defenders and finished sweetly on the chested half-volley with the outside of his left boot while under some pressure from the defenders to open his account for the season and to score ATK Mohun Bagan’s first goal in ISL history and the first goal of the 2020-21 ISL season. A goal that almost had written Roy Krishna all over it from kick-off finally came good for ATKMB.

While Kerela Blasters kept on pushing for the equalizer by dominating the ball in midfield and pushing the ATK back line to this own box, it was the brilliance of their defenders like Jhinghan, Tiri, and Kotal while Edu Garcia and Roy Krishna kept on being a constant threat on the counter-attack. Inspite of the best efforts of the likes of Gary Hooper, Sahal Abdul Samad, and Jessel Carneiro, Kerala Blasters just didn’t have enough in the tank to beat that wall of Kolkata. The game ended in a 1-0 victory for ATKMB, as predicted really but the Blasters certainly gave them a run for their money.

Roy Krishna was awarded the Hero of the Match for his contribution in the game which included that stunning goal to win the game for his club ATK Mohun Bagan. The ISL season indeed got off to a flier in Goa!

 

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