After a string of unfavorable results, Alexandre Guimaraes’ boys faced a trip away to Kolkata - a must win game to keep the Islanders top 4 hopes alive. Living up to the hype, ATK fought till the final whistle but Mumbai City FC managed to grab a crucial 2-1 win away from home in an absolutely thrilling encounter.
As expected, the game started off on the front foot as the home team looked to have an edge over the visitors in the opening minutes. The first attack from ATK saw Bipin Singh get past his man from the right and cut in from the by line, putting in a cross but Amrinder Singh dove in and collected the ball.
As the game progressed, Mumbai City FC managed to settle in and knit passes together in the midfield. Everton Santos managed to get a long range shot on target but Soram Poirei did well to save it.
The goalkeepers from both teams brought their A game as crucial saves held the score line to a goalless draw until the 30th minute mark when ATK gave away a free kick at the edge of the box. Marcio Rozario made the most of this situation with a beautiful free-kick into the top left corner as Poirei got a hand to it but was unable to keep it out. Mumbai City FC confidently went into the 2nd half with a 1-0 lead.
Though Mumbai City FC looked like the favorites going into the second half, ATK equalised 90 seconds into the second half as a well-played ball from Conor Thomas caught the Mumbai City FC napping. Bipin Singh’s composed left foot finish through Amrinder’s legs brought ATK back on level terms.
Even after conceding, The Islanders were consistently on the attack. The persistence from the visitors eventually lead to a delivery from Sanju Pradhan that was headed into the far corner by the towering Rafa Jorda who scored his first goal of the season.
The game was on level terms till the end as Amrinder yet again pulled out some brilliant saves to keep the visitors in the lead. ATK looked to get back into the game even in the dying moments of the extra time as Ryan Taylor managed only to strike the crossbar from a well struck long range free kick.
A successful free kick would have meant the end of the campaign for The Islanders but a well-rounded performance helped them carry on their fight to book a place in the Play Offs.Up next, The Islanders welcome NorthEast United to the Arena in their final home game on 22nd February, 2018. Another do-or-die encounter awaits.