Kerala Blasters led through goals from Gary Hooper (14th minute) and Costa Nhamoinesu (51st) before a strike from Marcelinho (59th) and a brace from Krishna (65th, 87th) helped Bagan complete a thrilling comeback
Photo by Vipin Pawar / Sportzpics for ISL
Margao: A revitalised Marcelinho and talisman Roy Krishna inspired ATK Mohun Bagan to a thrilling 3-2 win over Kerala Blasters in an Indian Super League match on Sunday.
Kerala Blasters led through goals from Gary Hooper (14th minute) and Costa Nhamoinesu (51st) before a strike from Marcelinho (59th) and a brace from Krishna (65th, 87th) helped Bagan complete a thrilling comeback.
Marcelinho, having joined ATKMB on loan from Odisha, was struggling for game time at his former club. But on Sunday, he looked a man transformed, adding spark to the Mariners’ struggling attack, thriving in a free role upfront.
The first half belonged to Kerala Blasters, who not only dominated possession but also created multiple chances.
Kerala started strong and missed a gilt-edged opportunity to take the lead in the fifth minute, failing to capitalise on a mistake from Tiri.
The defender made a mess of a clearance which was intercepted by Jordan Murray, who found Sahal Abdul Samad with a cutback. Samad exchanged passes with Hooper but had his eventual shot blocked by Sandesh Jhingan.
Kerala continued to make inroads and broke the deadlock thanks to a thunderous strike from Murray. Sandeep Singh picked out Hooper in midfield, who controlled the ball with his chest and struck on the volley.
ATKMB keeper Arindam Bhattacharja was caught off his line and couldn’t prevent the ball from going in.
It did not take long for Kerala to add another goal as they scored from a corner. Samad delivered a teasing cross into the box that was flicked over by Rahul KP. After some melee in the box, and Costa poked the ball home from close range.
Despite trailing by two goals, it was Marcelinho who revived ATKMB’s hopes of a comeback with a well-taken strike.
Manvir Singh lobbed the ball over the Kerala defense and found Marcelinho, who kept his cool and found the net with a delightful chip.
The Mariners crawled their way back into the game six minutes later, with Krishna scoring from a penalty after Jessel Carneiro was deemed guilty of handling the ball.
Kerala keeper Albino Gomes dived the right way and got his hand to the ball but the power of Krishna’s shot was enough to carry it into the net.
The equaliser spurred Antonio Habas’ side as they went all out. And a costly mistake from Kerala’s defense helped ATKMB grab all three points late on.
The Fijian beat two defenders before slotting the ball into the bottom corner, helping ATKMB record one of their memorable wins of the season.
Hyderabad strengthen qualification hopes
Hyderabad FC strengthened their chances of qualifying for the playoffs with a 2-0 victory over Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League, on Sunday.
Goals from Fran Sandaza (28th minute) and Joel Chianese (82th) were enough to secure all three points for the Nizams and propel them to third place on the table.
Hyderabad made their intentions clear right from the start, winning a corner in the fifth minute. The promising Asish Rai, who is enjoying a breakthrough season, was the architect of the move, sprinting into the Chennaiyin box and finding Mohammed Yasir.
After Yasir’s cross was put behind for a corner, Rai got another chance but sent his cross over.
Hyderabad kept attacking in the first quarter and got their reward just before the half-hour mark when Sandaza broke the deadlock.
After receiving the ball from a throw-in, the Spaniard found Joao Victor, who returned the favour with an excellent through ball.
Sandaza was still under pressure from Deepak Tangri but shook off the defender by shifting the ball onto his other foot and slotting it into the back of the net.
Chennaiyin had a period of possession after the goal but poor passing in the final third meant nothing came of the efforts. As the first half came to a close, Sandaza’s goal was the only shot on target from either team.
Chennaiyin made a couple of changes at the half-time break with Fatkhulo Fatkhulloev and Edwin Vanspaul replacing Germanpreet Singh and Thoi Singh, and the move looked to have paid off immediate dividends.
Eli Sabia came up all the way from defence and found himself with a direct sight on goal. His powerful shot from outside the box looked to be going in, but instead struck the crossbar and bounced away.
The crossbar once again came to Hyderabad’s rescue and this time, it was substitute Fatkhulloev’s turn to rue what should have been a goal.
Hyderabad looked resigned to sitting back and defending as Chennaiyin dominated possession in the second half.
However, their lack of creativity and wastefulness in front of goal was on show once again as with 10 minutes left in the game, they managed just a single shot on goal.
They soon paid for that when Hyderabad put the game beyond all doubt with a second goal. Chianese, who had replaced goalscorer Sandaza early in the second half, was played through by another excellent pass from Victor.
Chianese had only a narrow target to aim at but he found the back of the net with ease.
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