ATK turn the tables on Bengaluru to set final date with Chennaiyin

Photo : www.indiansuperleague.com
www.indiansuperleague.com|11-Mar-2020 12:01

ATK FC joined Chennaiyin FC in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 final after registering a 3-1 win over Bengaluru FC in the second leg of their semi-final clash at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Sunday. Needing to overturn a 1-0 first leg loss, ATK were dealt an early blow as the Blues struck first, but rallied to progress to the title decider with a 3-2 aggregate win over last season’s champions.

-Bengaluru took the lead in the 5th minute through Ashique Kuruniyan.
-Roy Krishna brought ATK level around the half-hour mark.
-David Williams converted a penalty to make it 2-1 for ATK in the 63rd minute and struck again in the 79th minute to make it 3-1.

With ATK trying to throw numbers forward early on and leaving a lot of space at the back, Bengaluru capitalized within five minutes. The ball broke for Ashique Kuruniyan, who used his pace to beat Sumit Rathi’s challenge and slotted past Arindam Bhattacharja to make it 1-0 in the Blues’ favour.

Needing three goals to turn the tie around, ATK kept attacking but lacked the cutting edge to break down a well-drilled Blues defence. Ashique’s pace down the right flank, meanwhile, consistently troubled an ATK backline which was trying to keep a high line to aid the attackers.

The first real threat by the home team came halfway through the first half as Roy Krishna set up David Williams for a shooting opportunity but Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was vigilant enough to deny the Australian a goal. Around the half-hour mark, Krishna took matters in his own hands and brought ATK level. A nice bit of interplay between Williams and Prabir Das freed up the latter down the wing. Das fizzed in in a dangerous low cross into the danger zone and Krishna obliged with a clinical finish.

The goal spurred on the ATK players as they looked more dangerous going forward. Erik Paartalu had an opportunity to restore Bengaluru’s lead in the 40th minute but his header from a Rahul Bheke cross was collected by Arindam. The half ended at 1-1 following an intense phase of play which saw tackles fly in from both sides and a few cautions as well.

With the onus on ATK to score, Bengaluru did well to starve them of any big chances until the 60th minute. However, there was a twist in the tale as ATK were awarded a penalty after Suresh Wangjam stuck out a leg and caught Williams inside the Blues’ box. Williams himself took charge and converted the spot-kick past Gurpreet.

Bengaluru had a big chance to draw level seven minutes later, but Dimas Delgado’s cheeky attempt to divert Sunil Chhetri’s free kick goalwards ended up on the wrong side of the post. Substitute Kevaughn Frater squandered another good chance with 15 minutes of regulation time remaining. The Jamaican was one-on-one against the ATK keeper but couldn’t find a way past Arindam.

In the 79th minute, Williams struck again to make it 3-1. It was Das again with the assist from the right and Williams buried a thunderous header past Gurpreet from the edge of the box. The goal turned the balance of the fixture on its head with ATK leading 3-2 on aggregate and the Blues needing a goal to salvage their ambitions of reaching the final.

With Bengaluru throwing the proverbial kitchen sink at the ATK defence in the final ten minutes and added time, the home defence put up a tenacious front and Arindam made a couple of crucial interventions to keep the Blues out and secure ATK’s passage to their third final.

Hero of the Match – Prabir Das
Prabir was a livewire for ATK and his work down the right flank was pivotal for the home team’s historic victory on the night. He not only provided two assists, but also created 5 chances in the game. On the defensive side, he contributed with five clearances and two tackles to stake his claim on the Hero of the Match award.

AWARDS

Club Award – ATK FC

Maruti Suzuki Limitless Player of the Match – David Williams

DHL Winning Pass of the Match – Prabir Das

ISL Emerging Player of the Match – Ashique Kuruniyan

Hero of the Match – Prabir Das