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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

Robbie Keane breaks drought with solo goal as ATK beat Delhi Dynamos

Robbie Keane’s 78th minute goal helped ATK beat Delhi Dynamos in the Indian Super League in Kolkata on Saturday.

football Updated: Dec 23, 2017 23:49 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Robert Keane of ATK celebrates his goal during the Indian Super League match against Delhi Dynamos FC in Kolkata on Saturday.
Robert Keane of ATK celebrates his goal during the Indian Super League match against Delhi Dynamos FC in Kolkata on Saturday.(ISL)

Robbie Keane’s first goal in over a year was a memorable solo effort worthy of the extravagant celebrations that followed.

Having put ATK ahead in the 78th minute, Keane executed a somersault and then a vault, the routine ending in a ‘namaste’ that had the 22,478 at the Salt Lake stadium loving every bit of it. He is 37 but celebrated like a teenager. “I am delighted for him,” said ATK coach Teddy Sheringham.

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With two defenders on him, Keane controlled Bipin Singh’s headed pass after Conor Thomas had found the wide right with a diagonal ball. Keane turned Rowlinson Rodrigues the other way and before Pritam Kotal could damage-control, Ireland’s highest goal-scorer had fired into the side-netting.

Keane solo

Given how poor ATK’s decision-making in the front third was, it needed a solo effort and Keane provided one worthy of one who has starred for Tottenham Hotspur and LA Galaxy.

It couldn’t lift a pedestrian match to greater heights because Delhi Dynamos, now on a run of five straight losses and stuck at the bottom, never really looked like they could pull one back.

But it did lift ATK to seventh spot after their second successive win. They now have eight points from six games.

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Delhi Dynamos looked like they would be happy with a point on the road and with ATK still some way from being a well-oiled machine, the match had little by way of quality. “There are a lot of mistakes going around and you have to hope you make less than the opposition,” said Sheringham.

Delhi Dynamos got a couple of chances from close but Romeo Fernandes was first denied by a reflex save from Debjit Majumder in the 16th minute and a little later, Anwar Ali got a timely leg in.

All-Indian defence

ATK too couldn’t ask Delhi Dynamos too many difficult questions. Rarely does a team play an all-Indian backline but forced by Gabriel Cichero’s suspension, Delhi Dynamos had no choice. But ATK didn’t leave them reeling like twice champions should have been expected to.

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And when they did, it had Keane involved. Once by selling a dummy that fooled Kotal and Rodrigues and helped Connor Thomas connect with Zequinha. The Portuguese wide left beat two players but couldn’t wrap his right foot around the drive. That was in the 40thminute. Two minutes earlier, Jayesh Rane, showing little of the promise that had Marco Materazzi calling him Neymar at Chennaiyin FC, headed out.

But then it takes one moment of magic to win a match and in Keane ATK had the player most likely to come up with one.

“We have injury worries but I wouldn’t like to use that as an excuse. We need to be sharp enough in the final third,” said Delhi Dynamos’ assistant-coach Shakti Chauhan.

First Published: Dec 23, 2017 23:33 IST