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ISL 2020-21 ATK Mohun Bagan vs Bengaluru FC: ATK Mohun Bagan register narrow win over Bengaluru
The Green and Maroons found the winner through David Williams.
ATK Mohun Bagan defeated Bengaluru FC by 1-0 at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa on Monday. David Williams' 33rd minute strike was the sole difference between the two sides on the night. With this win, the Kolkata Giants are now on level terms with table-toppers Mumbai City FC.
ATKMB started off with dominance, holding lion's share of possession and being more on attack than their counterparts. Bengaluru FC tried to sit back and probe the enemy territory on the counter, and had the first shy of the goal when Erik Paartalu headed a ball on target from a long cross but only for a comfortable save by Arindam Bhattacharja.
The visitors had the first shot on goal in the 22nd minute through Manvir Singh's left-footed shot at the goal from a cross that was sent straight to the keeper. Sunil Chhetri responded with a counter punch five minutes later but to no avail.
The Green and Maroons found the lead three minutes past the half hour mark through Aussie David Williams. He controlled a long ball from Carl McHugh to cut inside and produce a powerful right-footer that went past the keeper. The visitors went into the break with noses in front.
They had a chance to extend the lead in the second half when Edu Garcia's long distance attempt went inches wide of the target. The hosts looked to threaten through set pieces but failed to get any big opening. In the 73rd minute Cleiton Silva's attempt at goal after some silky footwork turned out to be a disappointment.
The visitors almost doubled the lead when in the last quarter just three minutes after Silva's attempt, Jayesh Rane's ball to Manvir Singh found him in space but Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made a crucial save to deny the hosts a two goal cushion.
The hosts tried hard to find the equalizer throwing bodies forward but a gritty defence from ATKMB helped them earn all three points from the tie.
ATKMB head coach Antonio Lopez Habas was pleased with the team's efforts, "We had to respect Bengaluru because they are a very difficult team to counter against. They are very dangerous from set-pieces,” he said.
“I think my team’s performance was perfect [against Bengaluru tonight]. It was a good win because the opponent is a big team. They made it difficult the whole time. Bengaluru FC play to make it to the semi-finals and maybe the final,” Habas added.
The coach is looking forward to the next tie, "The players are recovering, and this is very important. We played [this match against Bengaluru] after four days and now we have the possibility to rest but we have to compete at the same level in eight days’ time,” he said.
Bengaluru FC head coach Carles Cuadrat acknowledged the positives from the tie, "We were a very competitive team. We know that ATK Mohun Bagan are fighting for the semi-finals and we were very close to getting something from the game. The players showed that they understood the match plan and are physically ready, so I am very happy with the team,” he said.
On starting Udanta Singh and Deshorn Brown ahead of Suresh Wangjam and Kristian Opseth, he said, "It has been a difficult December. So, we try to put on some fresh legs and new players. That is why I gave an opportunity to Udanta and Brown and even Rahul Bheke. In that aspect I am happy with all the players because till the 95th minute they were trying to score,” the Spaniard said.