ATK Mohun Bagan have started their Indian Super League (ISL) season with a bang, winning two in two against Kerala Blasters and SC East Bengal. The team, which formed after the merger of ATK and Mohun Bagan, faced Odisha FC in their third game of the season.
Odisha FC haven't had the best of starts to their campaign as they have managed to secure just a point from the two games they have played.
Odisha FC started the game as the underdogs as ATK Mohun Bagan were the favourites to win. The first half was a cagey affair with both the teams having a tussle in the midfield. Odisha FC squandered the most straightforward chance of the match in the 35th minute. Defender Jacob Tratt headed the ball wide from five yards out with just the keeper to beat. The scoreboard read nil-nil at halftime.
The second half saw some good end-to-end football with ATK Mohun Bagan securing the victory in the 95th minute through a Roy Krishna header. The match ended with ATK Mohun Bagan 1-0 Odisha FC.
ATK Mohun Bagan prove they are a second-half team
One common trait present in ATK Mohun Bagan's game is that they are predominantly a side that performs in the second half of games. Antonio Lopez Habas likes to measure his opponents in the first half and then play accordingly in the second half. This technique has been working for the Spaniard in the Indian Super League since last season.
In the three games that ATK Mohun Bagan have played this season, they have taken a defensive approach in the first half. They sit back and soak up the pressure while the likes of Tiri, Sandesh and Pritam hold the defence steady.
In the second half, ATK Mohun Bagan swiftly change gears which have created problems for all the three sides they have faced this season. Yesterday, ATK Mohun Bagan kept it late in securing the victory as Roy Krishna scored the winning goal in the 95th minute.
With this win, ATK Mohun Bagan move to the top of the table with three wins from three games.
Antonio Habas will have a point to worry about as all the goals mainly come from only Roy Krishna. Out of the four goals ATK Mohun Bagan have scored this season, three have been a result of a defensive blunder rather than a good build-up play.
Odisha FC have themselves to blame for this loss
Odisha FC have not had the best of starts to the Indian Super League this season. With just one point from three games, they are 10th in the league standings. The positive for Odisha FC will be that they have managed to play a good brand of football. We cannot say the same thing about some of the other teams placed above Odisha FC.
Yesterday Odisha looked to be in the driver's seat as they created a lot of chances. Defender Jacob Tratt missed the chance of the game in the 35th minute when he headed the ball wide from just five yards out with only the keeper at his mercy. In the second half, Diego Mauricio was guilty of squandering some good chances which could have given Odisha the lead.
The goal that Roy Krishna scored in the dying moments of the game had a lot of power in it. But the keeper for Odisha, Kamaljit should have done better with the save.
It is Odisha's loss rather than ATK Mohun Bagan's win.
Roy Krishna Miracle gives ATK Mohun Bagan three points again
ATK Mohun Bagan don't play the Spanish style of swift passing football. Instead, they soak in the pressure and hit opponents on the counter. It is a style which Atletico Madrid are famous for. Given the previous connection the team had with Atletico Madrid, it isn't surprising to see Habas implementing the style in his squad. ATK Mohun Bagan's brand of football is called boring and pessimistic at times, but one cannot deny that it is effective in the current setup.
While the defence for ATK Mohun Bagan looks sorted, their attack, at times, has been blunt as they have failed to create an opening from the midfield.
Even with all the issues present in their attacking aspect, they have managed to secure all three points in the three games they have played.
The main reason for these victories has been the Roy Krishna miracle.
Last season, Roy Krishna had showed the Indian crowd what he is capable of in front of goal. This season he has managed to score goals from half chances or no chances at all and earn three points for his side. His goal-scoring instinct has been the main reason why ATK Mohun Bagan are top of the table.
One does wonder though what will happen to the side when Roy Krishna's goals dry up.