Mumbai: Defending champions ATK Kolkata scored their maiden victory in this year’s Indian Super League when they got the better of Mumbai City FC 1-0.
The lone goal in the match was scored by Robin Singh in the 54th minute when he stretched his foot out to get the faintest of touches to a superb tangential cross delivered from the left wing by the speedy Zequinha.
The visitors, winless with two defeats and two draws coming into the game, then survived a late onslaught by the home side, who were outplayed in the opening half, to emerge triumphant.
The victory also lifted ATK from the bottom of the table to the eighth spot with five points to their credit while Mumbai City, who suffered their first defeat this season at home, were in fifth spot with 7 points.
MCFC next take on North East United in an away game on December 20 while ATK will face Delhi Dynamos at home on December 23.
The visitors head coach Teddy Sheringham made five changes to the team’s starting eleven and the inclusion of 33 -year-old former Newcastle United player Ryan Taylor made a significant change to the attack.
In fact, Mumbai City should consider themselves lucky not to concede a single goal in the opening half as they weathered a sustained spell of attacking spell from the visitors.
Only after they conceded a goal did the hosts make some headway but could not score the equaliser till the end.
ATK were the dominant side for the most part of the opening half and the credit for keeping the score-sheet blank should be given to Mumbai City’s goalie Amrinder Singh who showed good anticipation and positional sense to stop shots or headers.
In fact ATK pitched tent in the rival half after the first ten minutes and did not allow the home team from making any meaningful raids till late in the half.
In this period of play, the visitors came close to scoring on at least five occasions but were frustrated by Amrinder and also a determined deep defense.
After Mumbai City let go of a good chance to go ahead in the seventh minute when Balwant Singh centered from the left with none to take advantage of in the goalmouth, action switched to the home teams half for the next half hour.
ATKs latest recruit and dead-ball specialist Ryan Taylor provided the first effort in the 9th minute with a brilliantly taken free-kick which was inadvertently headed towards his own goal from a crowded goalmouth by Mumbai City defender Rafa Jorda and luckily for the hosts Amrinder dived to his left and blocked the ball before it could enter the goal.
Later Amrinder foiled efforts from Robbie Keane twice, Tom Thorpe and Rupert Nongrum within a span of ten minutes and later halted a menacing run by Portugal’s Zequinha by blocking his on-the-run try with his foot.
In between these actions, yellow cards were shown to Abhinash Ruidas of Mumbai City and Nongrum.
Towards the late stages of the half came a few good moves by Mumbai City and off one of these Balwant headed over the bar from close.
The game became scrappy after the goal by Robin Singh gave ATK the lead with five more players being booked by the referee and the list included Taylor and defender Lucian Goian and Achille Ebana of Mumbai City, who was largely invisible in the opening half and came into his own in the latter half.
Debjit Majumder brought off some good saves in the latter half to keep Mumbai City at bay as he stopped Balwant’s header from going in soon after his team had taken the lead and in added on time towards the end when he foiled efforts from Emana, twice, and substitutes Thaigo Santos and Pranjal Bhumij.
In injury time, Balwant also headed over the bar from close range much to the chagrin of the hosts.