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ATK and Goa split the points in wee hours finish


Robbie Keane's opener was canceled out by Ferran Corominas' neat finish with both goals coming in the first half.

ATK were held to a 1-1 draw by the visiting FC Goa at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Wednesday in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18. Skipper Robbie Keane gave ATK an early lead before season’s current top-scorer Ferran Corominas equalised for Goa.

The match began after almost a three-hour delay, with the FC Goa contingent landing in Kolkata as late as 9 pm. However, ATK looked keen to use their home support to maximum advantage as they started with full attacking intent.

This lead to the defending champions finding the back of the net as soon as the fourth minute. After Mohamed Ali’s handball gifted ATK a free-kick from a dangerous position, Ryan Taylor took guard and whipped in a good ball inside the box. Keane rose highest to head it into the bottom left corner past the diving Laxmikant Kattimani.

Watch: ATK 1-1 FC Goa highlights

Next, Mandar Rao Dessai tried to catch the host’s custodian Debjit Majumdar off his line with a wonderful lob which unfortunately clipped the crossbar and went out of play.

Zequinha came close in the 10th minute but his shot on target lacked power and was eventually collected by Kattimani. In the very next minute, the hosts could have doubled the lead when Bruno Pinheiro's defensive error meant Taylor was left with only the keeper to beat. But his hurried shot from the edge of the box went straight to Kattimani and the chance went begging.

After a quarter of an hour, Goa started making inroads into the game. Their sustained pressure paid rich dividends as the visitors got their equaliser in the 24th minute from another Corominas and Manuel Lanzarote link-up. The former picked up the latter’s through ball and went round the keeper to slot it home. Prabir Das did try to keep it out with a sliding attempt but in vain, as Goa leveled the scoreline.

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Keane came close in the 28th and 32nd minute, but both times Kattimani managed to thwart his attempts. Even Debjit, on the other end, pulled two brilliant back-to-back saves to deny Goa from taking a lead. Then Edu Bedia had an attempted shot on target, which fizzed past the far post to ensure both teams enter the break tied at 1-1.

The second half started on even grounds with both teams approaching it patiently. Goa initiated the first attack in the 52nd minute, as Lanzarote teamed up with Corominas but the ATK defence held their line solidly. In the very next minute, Keane came very close to score his second but his right-footed effort which did manage to beat Kattimani, sailed just over the far post.

As the match gained intensity, tempers started to fly as a number of tussles broke out in the middle. The 60th minute saw the hosts back in action. Zequinha waited for a deflected ball to fall at the edge of the box and powered a dipping volley on goal, but Kattimani’s fingertip save stopped them from taking a lead.

The best chance of the half for Goa came in the 73rd minute. Corominas rounded past defenders and sent a pass to Dessai, who had an unguarded goal to score but he astonishingly fluffed his shot. Edu Bedia also had a chance from the resultant corner but his free header soared way over.

In the 80th minute, ATK built a good attack. Keegan Pereira’s cross-field cross found Taylor in the right flank, who volleyed in a powerful pass for Keane in the box, but Kattimani latched on to it. Two minutes later, Jayesh Rane found himself at the end of a deflected ball but his half-volley went directly to the keeper.

It was Keane who had the last chance to finish ATK’s night with aplomb but his attempted volley from Njazi Kuqi’s deflected shot agonisingly went over the crossbar. With that, a high-octane 90 minutes came to an end in Kolkata, as both teams shared points in 2018’s first encounter.


Published: Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:25 AM IST


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