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ISL 2018: Late Vieira header fetches ATK full points against FC Pune City

After eight games, of which they have won three and drawn one, ATK are the sixth team to move into double figures of the tournament.

football Updated: Nov 10, 2018 23:09 IST
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
ISL,ISL 2018,Vieira
File image of ATK player Gerson Viera.(Indian Super League/ Twitter)

Given that Manuel Lanzarote was the heart and soul of ATK’s attack, it was fitting that he would contribute to the evening’s only goal. It was his heeled pass to Jayesh Rane that wrong-footed FC Pune City’s backline and after Rane threaded in a cross, Gerson Vieira beat Ashutosh Mehta to flick home an 82nd minute header. After eight games, of which they have won three and drawn one, ATK are the sixth team to move into double figures of ISL5.

Lanzarote would have got his second goal of the season in the first half here on Saturday. Symptomatic of how FC Pune City’s defending is at best a work in progress lay in them conceding four free-kicks in dangerous areas before half-time. For the fouls on Komal Thatal (fifth), Vieira (17th), Pronay Halder (23rd) and Everton Santos (33rd and 73rd), ATK trusted Lanzarote’s left foot. The closest he came was with his second attempt which grazed the upright and went out.

ATK’s 4-4-2 formation at the start segued into 4-2-3-1 though there was change in personnel forced by the injury to Kalu Uche. Andre Bikey started as central defender and Vieira moved into midfield. Lanzarote began as Balwant Singh’s partner in front but dropped deep to find mates in dangerous areas with passes pregnant with possibilities. So as Everton Santos joined Balwant, Lanzarote played in a left of centre area in the midfield. In first-half stoppage time, he fired a Viera pass that nutmegged an FC Pune City player and missed Kamaljit Singh’s goal by not much.

The first raking pass from the Spaniard though came from the right, deep in his own half, where he played after the break. Seeing Santos ready to make a run, he sent a 25-yarder diagonal. Thatal was similarly found, first on the right and then on the other side. In the 52nd, from near the centre circle, he aimed one for Santos but the bounce wasn’t kind for the Brazilian.

If ATK could not score earlier it was because they lacked physicality in front of goal and because the quality of delivery was mostly ordinary. Once Santos’ poor decision making too contributed because with Lanzarote better placed, he went for glory and ended up aiming at the floodlights.

With Emiliano Alfaro out due to tummy trouble, FC Pune City could field only three foreigners because two, Diego Carlos and Marcelinho, were suspended and Marko Stankovic was injured. It contributed to Arindam Bhattacharja getting his first clean sheet. This was ATK’s first win against FC Pune, who stay on two points from seven games, since November 27, 2015.

First Published: Nov 10, 2018 22:39 IST