ISL 2018: ATK, FC Goa play out a barren but exciting draw

FC Goa ended the first half with Ferran Corominas finally managing to find himself between the ATK central defenders but Bhattacharja pulled off a good save. T

football Updated: Nov 28, 2018 23:42 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Kolkata
ISL 2018,ATK,FC Goa
Kolkata: FC Goa and ATK players vie for the ball during ISL Match, in Kolkata, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018(PTI)

When FC Goa and ATK meet, sparks fly but the match ends in a draw. Seven of the 11 games between them have now ended in draws. But of the three goalless draws in ISL5 so far, two of them featuring ATK, this was the most exciting. This was the third successive clean sheet for ATK who now have 12 points from nine games. FC Goa moved to 17 and are second behind Bengaluru FC.

The visitors can feel aggrieved at being denied a penalty in the 66th minute when Manvir Singh’s shot hit Andre Bikey’s flailing hand before John Johnson prevented the ball from going in and could have killed the match before the first quarter had Seriton Fernandes and Serigne Fall not hit the side-netting on either side of Arindam Bhattacharja’s goal.

After that ATK not only managed to contain their free-scoring opponents but through the trio of Jayesh Rane, Everton Santos and Manuel Lanzarote asked a number of questions of their own.

Getting his place back in the starting line-up after six games Rane made telling contributions to ATK moves in the 27th, 29th and the 35th minutes. It produced an Everton Santos toe-poke that missed narrowly and had another attempt by the Brazilian that FC Goa goalie Mohammad Nawaz saved. The third attempt had Manuel Lanzarote, again at the heart of ATK’s initiatives going forward, firing off target.

FC Goa ended the first half with Ferran Corominas finally managing to find himself between the ATK central defenders but Bhattacharja pulled off a good save. That it was Corominas’ most telling contribution of the evening told its own story.

Coro, ATK coach Steve Coppell had said, needs someone to load the bullet for him. By snuffing out Ahmed Jahouh’s ability to create from the deep and keeping a check on Edu Bedia, ATK suffocated the man who had scored 26 goals in 27 games going into Wednesday’s game. The bulk of that job was done by Pronay Haldar and Vieira who stayed close to the ATK back four.

After an even first half, ATK were off the blocks faster. In the 54th minute, Rane couldn’t pack enough power into his shot after receiving a pass from Lanzarote who had drawn out Carlos Pena after being playing on by Santos. Between ATK and the evening’s first goal stood Nawaz’s right boot. Next minute, a Lanzarote free-kick had Bikey being unable to direct a free header on target. Then Gerson Vieira headed out another Lanzarote free-kick. Denying ATK a goal in their final home engagement for the year was a superb defensive header by Fall to a Lanzarote free-kick.

First Published: Nov 28, 2018 23:20 IST