The Bengal Tigers seaaed a narrow win thanks to a Zequinha goal in the second half.
Two-time champions ATK edged NorthEast United FC 1-0 in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Friday. Zequinha came up with a sublime volley in the second half to bag all three points for the visitors who with their third win of the campaign, jump to sixth spot on the points table.
Speaking to the media during the post-match press conference was ATK’s head coach Teddy Sheringham, who admitted that NorthEast were difficult to overcome. “It was another difficult game,” the Englishman stated. “NorthEast are having a tough time at the moment, but we had to still come here and win. I was very pleased with the way we played, kept probing to try and get the goal and I was delighted when we did get the goal.”
Sheringham also provided an update on Irishman Robbie Keane’s injury. “Robbie has got a little bit of an injury,” Sheringham revealed. “He’s got an ankle injury, he got kicked on it and twisted it at the same time last week against Bengaluru. We’re assessing his injury as we speak.”
The former Manchester United striker went on to laud young Hitesh Sharma’s performance on the night. “I think he’s (Hitesh) a fantastic little player,” Sheringham said. “He’s playing in a difficult position. But he’s a great lad, he wants to learn, wants to get better. I’ll be around to coach him. I know how hard it is to play in that position even for the older players. He’s only 20, I’ll help him. He’ll get better.”
Meanwhile, NorthEast United’s assistant coach Eelco Schattorie was understandably disappointed while analysing his team’s performance. “Before the game started, we made an analysis of Kolkata,” he said. “This team has problems in scoring and this team is difficult to beat. Before the game started, I said to the coach that this game is going to be decided by a set-piece or a stupid mistake. They scored the goal because two times in a row we gave the ball away. The second one they scored, good quality individual shot. I think a 0-0 would’ve been a fair result. From our side, our team missed a lot of chances.”
Schattorie also discussed the areas which the Highlanders need to improve on. “Understanding is something that we build,” the Dutchman explained. “We need to work a lot on confidence and on how to keep the ball. Overall Kolkata was better in ball possession but not dangerous in breaking us up.”
Before wrapping up, he praised NorthEast custodian TP Rehenesh for his performance. “Last week he (Rehenesh) saved us,” Schattorie said. “Today also he had a few good saves. I have no complaints about the goalkeeping to be honest.”