Kolkata, ATK Mohun Bagan secured a dramatic 2-1 victory over NorthEast United and moved up into second place in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan here on Thursaday.
Liston Colaco broke the deadlock in the 35th minute before Aaron Evans equalised in the 81st minute. Subhasish Bose, on his 99th Hero ISL appearance, scored the winner to give the Mariners a win in their 50th Hero ISL game.
Juan Ferrando did not make any changes to the ATKMB starting line-up and fielded the same XI that snatched a point in Mumbai this past Sunday. NEUFC made four changes as Marco Balbul switched from a 5-3-2 to a 4-3-2-1. Imran Khan and the Gogoi brothers - Pragyan and Parthib - were included in the line-up as Jithin M.S and Matt Derbyshire dropped to the bench.
NorthEast United FC created the first chance of the game via Parthib just 15 seconds after kick-off. The young striker could not get a proper touch on the ball before Pritam Kotal put it out for a corner. On the counter, Dimitri Petratos buried the ball in the back of the net, but the goal was chalked off because the ATKMB striker had strayed offside.
Five minutes past the half-hour mark, ATKMB breached the NorthEast United FC defence. Hugo Boumous pounced on Parthib's misplaced pass in midfield and advanced towards goal before finding Colaco with a perfectly weighted through ball. The winger aimed for the far post and finished it with aplomb.
Ten minutes into the second half, Pragyan tried his luck from range, but his effort was partially blocked by Ashish Rai as the stray ball fell to Parthib right in front of goal. The teenager came tantalisingly close to scoring as his effort came off Vishal Kaith, struck the upright, and stayed out. Two minutes later, at the other end, Petratos beat the offside trap but missed his effort.
Drama ensued in the final ten minutes of the game. Jon Gaztanaga's glancing header allowed Aaron Evans to score the equaliser with a diving header in the 81st minute. The Highlanders had their hearts broken in the 89th minute when Petratos' cross was met by Bose's accurate diving header that put the Mariners back in front and eventually handed them all three points.
The win took ATK Mohun Bagan up into second place with 10 points. They will visit Goa next to face the Gaurs on November 20. The Highlanders came very close to scoring their first point of the season but will remain rooted to the bottom of the table. They will get a break during the next Matchweek before hosting Mumbai City FC on November 25.