Hello and welcome to Sportstar’s live blog of this evening’s Indian Super League (ISL 2019-20) clash between two-time champion ATK and NorthEast United FC played at the Salt Lake Stadium. This is Shyam Vasudevan and I will keep you company through this exciting contest.
What a fantastic end to this game! Balwant Singh, who came on for Edu Garcia in the 90th minute, emerges the matchwinner as his stoppage-time header earns ATK a hard fought 1-0 win over NEUFC.
The win takes ATK’s tally to 27 points and to the top of the ISL points table, courtesy of a superior goal difference over FC Goa. Here’s the match report – Super-sub Balwant takes ATK to summit
90+4′ The corner is floated in from the right and Balwant buries his header into the bottom corner to give ATK the lead with less than a minute to go! And that brings up the 50th goal scored by an Indian this ISL season!
90+4′ GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL! BALWANT SINGH SCORES FOR ATK!
90+2′ Another fine tackle from Komorski! Prabir is played down the right and he lines up to shoot, but Komorski makes a sublime tackle to deny him.
90′ The fourth official has signalled for four minutes of added time.
90′ Final change for ATK as Balwant Singh comes on for Garcia.
87′ Chance for ATK here. Reagan fouls Hernandez at the edge of the box and it’s a freekick to the home side. This is pure Edu Garcia range!….. and he can’t get it past the wall.
86′ Timely intervention from Arindam as he races off his line to clear a through ball. Great vision from the ‘keeper!
85′ Corner for ATK! It’s end to end action here as Garcia breaks into the 18-yard box and shoots, but it’s deflected out for a corner.
83′ NEUFC is throwing men ahead in search of the elusive goal, but to no avail.
79′ Solid save from Subhasish. Soosairaj puts Javier Hernandez through on goal and he fires a fierce strike, but the custodian makes a strong save to deny him.
78′ A win today will see ATK leapfrog FC Goa and storm to the top of the ISL table, while NEUFC is in the hunt for its first win in eight games. A must-win for both teams!
75′ NEUFC goalkeeper Subhasish is shown a yellow for time wasting.
74′ Third and final change for NEUFC: Redeem Tlang comes on for Ninthoi. Redeem is one of NEUFC’s four goalscorers this season.
71′ Stat: 49 goals have been scored after the 75th minute this ISL season. We could really use a late goal this evening!
68′ Another chance goes begging! Pritam Kotal has the goal at his mercy and just the ‘keeper to beat, from less then five yards out, but blasts his attempt into the stands. That’s ATK’s third clear cut chance of the evening that’s gone to waste.
66′ It’s a sibling affair here for ATK as Regin Michael, Soosairaj’s elder brother, comes on for Mongil.
65′ Krishna is shown a yellow, his first of the season, for an elbow on Chaves.
62′ Jayesh Rane, who came on less than 10 minutes ago, has just clocked this evening’s fastest run at 31.7km/hr. That’s only four km short of the mercurial Udanta Singh!
60′ We head into the last half hour of play and it truly is anyone’s game at this point. ATK has had the better of chances but squandered both, while NEUFC looks increasingly threatening with each passing minute.
58′ How did that not go in!? Garcia releases Soosairaj down the right and he brilliantly taps the ball through Subasish’s legs, but Komorski makes a last-ditch sliding tackle to clear the ball off the line. What a chance this! And you have to say, that is a fantastic call from the referee!
54′ First change of the evening for ATK – Jobby Justin has been replaced by Jayesh Rane.
In case you’re wondering, yes those are Mohun Bagan officials in the VIP box. ATK and Mohun Bagan have merged and will play as a single club from the next ISL season. ATK owns 80 per cent shares in the new club, while Bagan will own the balance 20 per cent. Full story – Mohun Bagan, ATK announce merger; to play ISL next season
47′ Stat: Gallego has created a chance every 36 minutes this season. NEUFC could most certainly use some of Gallego’s crafty passes now!
46′ Two changes for NorthEast – Lundevall’s debut comes to an end as he’s replaced by Federico Gallego, while Herrings makes way for Leudo.
And that brings us to the end of the opening half. ATK got off to a strong start and looked likely to take the early lead, but could not find a way past the NEUFC defence. Roy Krishna had a golden chance to put the home side ahead but squandered a 1v1 opportunity, while NEUFC also had its fair share of chances. NEUFC got off on the back foot, but did remarkably well to make a spirited comeback and keep the ATK defence on its toes. At the end of the first 45, it’s 0-0 at the Salt Lake Stadium.
45′ Save that for the highlight reel, what a terrific save from Arindam! Ninthoi floats in a lovely cross and Chaves’ header seems to be heading into the top corner but for Arindam’s acrobatic save.
39′ What a chance for ATK! Garcia threads a neat through ball to Krishna, who dodges his marker and gets into a 1v1 position with just ‘keeper to beat. The ATK forward gets a shot on target, but it clips Subhasish’s leg and its out for a corner. A very rare miss from Krishna!
37′ The game has slowed down a little here. Both teams waiting to pounce on that rare defensive error. The NEUFC has come together better now and looks a lot more alive to ATK’s attacks.
34′ Soosairaaaaaaj…..just whizzes past. ATK steal the ball at the centre of the pitch and Garcia lays it for an onrushing Soosairaj on the left. The winger goes for a first-time strike aimed at his favourite left-top corner, but his strike floats just pass the crossbar.
29′ Lundevall has covered the most distance in today’s game thus far, but has struggled to create an impact. In case you missed it, the Swede has been roped in to replace Asamoah Gyan, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the season.
24′ Debutant Ninthoi has a chance to create a move, but goes for goal instead. A lovely cross from the left finds him at the centre of the box and he heads it goalward, but the attempt lacks any real venom. NEUFC could have perhaps got the goal had he played it to Keogh, who was unmarked on goal.
20′ NEUFC has slowly but steadily clawed its way back into this game. The visiting side has found a rhythm and has largely dominated the last few minutes, forcing Arindam to make a couple of strong saves.
16′ How close was that!? Lalengmawia wins the ball at the edge of the box and skips past his defender to unleash a fine strike, but fails to find the target. The chance comes a minute after Arindam made a fantastic reflex save to keep out Komorski’s cheeky backheel attempt.
13′ First chance for NEUFC as Keogh has his right-footed drive saved by Arindam.
12′ So nearly 1-0 to ATK! Prabir delivers a fine cross and it takes a deflection and loops towards the goal. Subhasish takes it easy and waits for the ball to come to him and Krishna nearly sneaks in a header!
10′ ATK has been the superior side in the opening 10. The ball distribution has been fantastic and the home side has used both flanks effectively…. and there’s the first shot of the game – Mongil has a shy at goal from distance but doesn’t trouble the ‘keeper.
5′ Bright start for the home side. Prabir Das has combined well with Jobby and made a couple of tearing runs down the right, but no clear chances yet.
3′ So just to recap, NEUFC has left Leudo and Gallego on the bench, while Lundevall makes his debut. ATK, on the other hand, looks menacing with a terrific attacking line up including the likes of Garcia, Krishna and Soosairaj.
1′ KICK OFF!
7:30pm: There’s a minute of silence being observed in memory of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter, who passed away this morning in a tragic helicopter crash.
7:25pm: Right then, five minutes to kick-off ladies and gents! I’m going to go on a coffee run, make sure you’re stocked up too! See you in 5.
7:20pm: The last time these two teams clashed, ATK cruised to a 3-0 win. David Williams struck early in the 11th minute, while Roy Krishna bagged a brace to seal a comfortable victory. Here’s how that game went down –
7:15pm: More stats!
– NEUFC is the only team to not score more than 10 goals this season
– ATK has conceded only 10 goals this season, the league’s second-lowest
7:10pm: Some key stats ahead of today’s game
– A win today will take ATK past FC Goa and to the top of the Indian Super League table
– NEUFC has not won a single match in its last seven games
– With 23 goals, ATK has scored the second-most goals this season. Only Goa has more (28).
7:05pm: Oh and in case you missed the news, ATK coach Antonio Habas will not be in the dugout today after he was suspended for misconduct during the game against Kerala Blasters last week. Habas and goalkeeping coach Angel Pindado have both been suspended, while the gaffer will also have to pay a fine of Rs. 1 Lakh. ATK’s assistant coach Manuel Perez Cascallana will be in charge today.
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7pm: A century for ATK! The two-time champion completes 100 games in the Indian Super League today. A win would make the milestone all the more sweeter, wouldn’t it?
6:55pm: Along with Lunevall, Ninthoi Meetei will be making his first start for the Highlanders.
6:55pm: The big news is that NorthEast United’s new signing, Swede Simon Lundevall will be making his Indian Super League debut today. Lundevall has been roped in as a replacement for Ghanaian striker Asamoah Gyan, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season with an injury.
Here’s what he had to say ahead of the game:
6:50pm: Edu Garcia returns to the ATK starting XI for the first time since December 14, and will have able attacking company in Jobby, Soosairaj and Krishna.
6:45pm: So we’re 45 minutes way from kick-off and here’s how the two teams will line up –
ATK: Arindam Bhattacharja (GK), Sumit Rathi, Agustin Iniguez. Victor Mongil, Pritam Kotal, Prabir Das, Javier Hernandez, Edu Garcia, Roy Krishna (C), Jobby Justin, Michael Soosairaj.
Northeast United FC: Subhasish Roy (GK), Reagan Singh (C), Heerings Kai, Mislav Komorski, Rakesh Pradhan, Ninthoi, Simon Lundevall, Nikhil Kadam, Lalengmawia, Andrew Keogh, Martin Chaves.
ATK meets NorthEast United with an eye on top spot
Former champion ATK will look to build on the positive home record when it takes on visitor North East United FC in an ISL fixture at the Salt Lake Stadium on Monday.
With the contest for the top spot getting close as the league approaches the home stretch, the ATK camp will be looking to repeat the emphatic win (3-0) it recorded when it visited Guwahati in the first week of December.
With only two wins under its name and currently placed a lowly ninth in the 10-team table, the Highlanders have not been able to strike consistent form under the charge of the former Croatian World Cupper Robert Jarni.
On the other hand, ATK has been fairly consistent at home, where it picked up 13 out of the possible 18 points so far. Having beaten both the defending champion Bengaluru FC and last year’s runner-up FC Goa in the previous rounds at home, ATK’s confidence will be quite high.
ATK is placed third in the table with 24 points from 13 outings and a win will again see it dislodging FC Goa from the top.
“For us the first objective is to win and get back to the top (of the standings). NorthEast can be a bit tricky as an opponent as I feel there is little difference between us and them in the way we approach the game,” said the ATK head coach Antonio Lopez Habas.
The ATK gaffer said that he was hopeful of getting Australian forward David Williams back from injury. This will reestablish the successful combination in the ATK attack when Williams teams up with his former Wellington Phoenix colleague, Roy Krishna. “He (Williams) has been training with the side for some time and can make a possible start tomorrow,” Habas said. There was less hope with midfielder Pronoy Halder, who is still recovering.
North East United FC, which has played two matches less compared to the rest of the pack (11 points from 11 matches), will be looking to make amends with two new foreign signings (forward Andy Keogh and midfielder Simon Lundevall) joining it in the new year.
“In one month, we have seven games. We are aware of the situation and I am always optimistic about fighting for every little hope we have. We will do everything we can to win the match,” NEUFC head coach Jarni said.
The team’s away record has not been that impressive as it has struggled to put together a convincing performance. The visitor will be hoping that the newly signed Irish striker Andy Keogh, who will be filling up the spot of the injured Asamoah Gyan, helps the team get over the striking woes.
The new midfielder, Lundevall, may not be able to ready for the side now but with the likes of Federico Gallego and Martin Chaves in the roster, North East United may hope for a turn around.
Habas handed two-match suspension, to miss ATK vs NEUFC
In a late development, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Disciplinary Committee served out suspensions to ATK head coach Antonio Habas, goalkeeping coach Angel Pindado and Kerala Blasters FC head coach Eelco Schattorie for their misconduct during Kerala Blasters vs ATK on January 12.
Habas will thus be out of technical area against NorthEast United on Monday. The ATK gaffer will also have to pay a fine of INR 1 lakh.
ATK’s assistant coach Manuel Perez Cascallana will be in charge of the Kolkata outfit in the absence of the suspended Habas.