Champions ATK Mohun Bagan gets their season underway with a 1-0 win over Kerala Blasters. Fijian striker Roy Krishna scored the only goal of the match volleying home a loose clearance from inside the box in the 72nd minute to give the Champions all three points.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man
The rustiness of the players coming into the new season was there for all to see in the first game of the season. This was especially evident for the champions who came into the match without having played a single friendly in the pre season. Roy Krishna missed a sitter early in the first half failing to connect to a peachy cross having found himself completely unmarked in the box following a corner. The Fijian striker who had to quarantine in three different countries before reaching India in a journey that took him 40 days had to feed off scrapes for most of the game as Kerala Blasters dominated possession. The veteran striker, however, made the most of a defensive mix up in the 72nd minute as he stole in between two defenders in the Kerala box before finishing superbly past Albino Gomes. His goal the only moment of magic and a worthy match winner in what was a lacklustre first game of the ISL this season. That’s three points for the Champions who get their season to an imperfect perfect start.
Lost in Midfield
Kerala Blasters looked handsome under new manager Kibu Vicuna controlling possession and playing out from the back throughout the game. The team, however, looked clueless going forward and lacked the final pass in the final third to cut open the champions. Sahal Abdul and debutant Ritwik Das both had excellent chances to open the scoring for Blasters but fluffed their lines in front of goal. Blasters’ forward Hooper made some intelligent runs to carve a few half chances but his touch often let him down as he took just one shot the whole game. Kibu certainly will be asking for more from his midfielders and strikers who particularly let him down tonight.
Lift off for ATK Mohun Bagan
ATK and Mohun Bagan that won the ISL and the I League last season came into the match as one team having tied up at the end of last season and all eyes were on the Champions with the same question; What will this team be like? While the way in which Kerala Blasters dominated possession may put off some fans, ATK Mohun Bagan actually looked quite comfortable even though they were defending most of the game. Antonio Habas’ side have always been known for their quick counter attacks and ATK Mohun Bagan always looked the more menacing team though Blasters saw much more of the ball. Indeed it was a counter attack that led to the Roy Krishna goal and though there is much left wanting from the Champions in this match, Habas will be more than happy with the three points, and most importantly the win that gets the ATK Mohun Bagan story underway.