ATK Mohun Bagan scraped past the Kerala Blasters 1-0 in a scruffy encounter at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim, Goa. The latter began the match the better of the two outfits but weren’t able to create anything of note as the former began establishing a foothold in the game.
The first chance of the contest fell to Roy Krishna in the 4th minute when he snatched at a shot and only connected with thin air. 30 minutes later, the Fijian blazed over the bar when some sloppy play had allowed him a clear shot at goal from 20 yards.
After the break, ATK Mohun Bagan looked much more accomplished and kept pushing and probing. Eventually, the opening arrived in the 67th minute when Roy Krishna pounced on some slack defending to ripple the net.
Kerala Blasters rummaged through their attacking cavalry towards the end of the game but were unable to find an equalizer as the Kochi-based outfit were consigned to their first defeat of the new campaign.
Here is a look at how the players fared at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim, Goa.
Albino Gomes – 5
Apart from the goal, Albino Gomes didn’t have a lot to do. He looked good in patches, when the ball was at his feet and might be crucial to Kibu Vicuna’s style of football moving forward.
Jessel Carneiro – 6
Jessel Carneira tried his best to influence proceedings from deep but lacked any sort of support from those ahead of him. He whipped in a few dangerous crosses but his strikers just weren’t on the same wavelength.
Costa Nhamoinesu – 7
Much like Tiri, Costa was a rock at the back and barely allowed the likes of Edu Garcia and Roy Krishna a direct sniff at goal. He was strong in the air and was also relatively comfortable with the ball at his feet.
Bakary Kone – 5.5
Bakary Kone was the twitchier of the two centre-backs and endured some dicey moments in possession. Though ATK Mohun Bagan didn’t test him as regularly, he didn’t really cover himself in as much glory as his defensive partner.
Prasanth Karuthadathkuni – 6
Prasanth began the game ahead of Nishu Kumar and largely seemed to repay his manager’s faith. While there were a couple of shaky defensive moments, he showed good awareness and composure to dribble forward whenever given an opportunity.
Vicente Gomez – 5
Vicente Gomez was calm in midfield and kept the ball ticking over. However, once he had pinged the ball around in midfield, he didn’t seem to possess the ability to conjure an opening further forward. Though those ahead of him didn’t particularly provide him with too many options, he was a touch more sluggish than Kibu Vicuna would’ve liked.
Sergio Cidoncha – 4
The Kerala Blasters skipper had a poor game in midfield and failed to control the match. His passing was a tad wayward and he also lacked innovation when presented with chances to press forward. Furthermore, he was at fault for the mix-up that led to ATK Mohun Bagan’s goal.
Nongdamba Naorem – 5
Nongdamba Naorem began the game brightly and saw plenty of the ball. In fact, he even ventured in-field to collect possession and keep the ball moving. However, he faded as the game went on and didn’t create enough of an impact, meaning that he was replaced just before the hour-mark.
Ritwik Das – 6
The youngster was a bundle of energy on the right flank and caused ATK Mohun Bagan a few problems with his direct running. However, he too lacked an end product and spurned a very presentable opportunity in the 37th minute.
Sahal Abdul Samad – 4
After a sub-standard 2019-20 ISL season, Sahal Abdul Samad was entrusted with a starting berth but failed to live up to expectations. His game began with a string of loose touches in the opening 10 minutes and his performance was summed up by a wretched sliced shot inside the area in the 50th minute.
Gary Hooper – 5
Gary Hooper cut an isolated figure for large swathes of the contest and Kerala Blasters failed to really make the most of his abilities. Gary Hooper seems to be a striker that thrives in the box and for a forward of that ilk, he dropped deep, way too often against ATK Mohun Bagan.
ATK Mohun Bagan
Arindam Bhattacharja – 5.5
Arindam Bhattacharja had awful little to do throughout the game, apart from hoofing a few balls forward to beat the Blasters’ initial press. However, when called into action in the 50th minute, he flapped at a cross and was fortunate to have not been punished by Sahal Abdul Samad.
Pritam Kotal – 6
The Kerala Blasters didn’t offer a lot of threat down his wing, meaning that Pritam Kotal had a relatively comfortable day at the office. As the Blasters began launching the ball forward towards the end of the game, Pritam Kotal popped up with a couple of important clearances.
Tiri – 7
The Spaniard was a towering presence at the back and commanded the penalty area extremely well. Tiri was rarely caught out of position and marshalled those alongside him with aplomb. An impressive start to the 2020-21 ISL season for the defender.
Sandesh Jhingan – 6
Sandesh Jhingan made his first appearance in the ISL since the end of the 2018-19 season, although one would’ve been forgiven to wonder if he’d been playing all along. He was as dependable as ever and while the Blasters tried to exploit his lack of match practice, he stuck to his guns expertly.
Prabir Das – 5
Prabir Das started the game encouragingly and in sync with most of last season, marauded down the right flank. However, he fizzled out as the game advanced and wasn’t as big an attacking threat as Antonio Habas would’ve wanted.
Michael Soosairaj – 4
Michael Soosairaj displayed plenty of adventure during his short stint on the pitch. He got forward and even found himself in a couple of promising positions, although he couldn’t produce a telling pass. Ultimately, went off in the 14th minute with what looked a serious knee injury.
Pronay Halder – 5
Pronay Halder saw the game pass him by for large stretches and failed to assert his dominance in the middle of the park. Though he created a chance for Roy Krishna in the 34th minute, he failed to build on it. Also, was lucky to not get booked for a rather rash challenge in the first half.
Carl McHugh – 5.5
Carl McHugh didn’t have the desired impact on the night and found himself overrun in the centre of the park at times in the first half. Additionally, he wasn’t able to impact the game in the final third and also headed wide when unmarked inside the box in the 26th minute.
Javi Hernandez – 7
Javi Hernandez formed the engine room for ATK Mohun Bagan and always moved the ball with purpose. The Spaniard fulfilled his defensive duties efficiently too and was perhaps the best midfielder on show on Friday.
Edu Garcia – 5.5
Edu Garcia showcased a couple of neat touches in the final third, though an end product deserted him. He also came close with a rasping drive in the final quarter of the game and seemed a player that was just lacking a shade of match sharpness.
Roy Krishna – 6.5
Roy Krishna showed signs of rustiness at the start of the encounter and uncharacteristically, was guilty of wasting a few scoring chances in the first half. However, when presented with an opening in the 67th minute, he capitalized and rifled the ball into the back of the net. One reckons the best is yet to come from the Fijian in the 2020-21 season of the ISL.
Seityasen Singh – 4
Seityasen Singh marked his arrival with a couple of neat touches that set the Blasters on the attack. However, his impact waned post that and he failed to provide the inspiration the Blasters were after.
Lalthathanga Khawlhring – 5
Lalthathanga Khawlhring didn’t have a lot of time to leave an imprint on the match. However, he would be cursing himself for not hitting the target when the ball sat up on the edge of the box in injury time.
Jordan Murray – N/A
Jordan Murray was thrown on by the Kerala Blasters as they looked to salvage something from the encounter. Yet, nothing of the sort materialized as ATK Mohun Bagan held onto their clean sheet.
Facundo Pereyra – N/A
Another late introduction to the game and his only notable contribution was getting booked for a high challenge on Javi Hernandez.
ATK Mohun Bagan
Subhasish Bose – 5.5
Subhasish Bose looked off the pace throughout the game and was caught out of position on a couple of occasions as well. He could not provide his side with the attacking thrust down the left flank as ATK Mohun Bagan failed to click into gear.
Manvir Singh – 6
Manvir Singh caused plenty of nuisance in the Kerala Blasters’ ranks and was crucial as ATK Mohun Bagan saw out the game. He ran the channels well and held up the ball as ATK Mohun Bagan managed to suck the Blasters’ momentum out of the contest.
David Williams – N/A
The striker replaced his partner-in-crime Roy Krishna but didn’t have as telling a contribution as the latter. David Williams challenged for the aerial balls in the final few minutes and got some important minutes under his belt.