ATK registered their first win of this ISL season as they defeated The Islanders 1-0 in a closely contested game. Robin Singh scored in the 54th minute with the home side failing to score, despite attacking in the remaining period. The home fans were left disappointed after a flurry of attacks from their team did not result in a goal. Nonetheless, it was an entertaining affair with some positives to take away for Alexandre Guimaraes and the boys.
ATK started the game positively and there was an early scare for The Islanders team after a free kick from Ryan Taylor went just ahead of Robbie Keane. The home team tried to press the ball forward but Balwant Singh, after getting a shot, struck it well off the target.
Amrinder was the busier of the two goalkeepers with ATK delivering good crosses in the box. He had to make diving saves in the ninth and seventeenth minute with Islanders not able to get the danger away. Amrinder was once again in action as he stopped Rupert Nongrum from scoring the first goal of the match.
The Islanders were far more aggressive in the second half of the first 45 minutes and had their chances as well. Balwant Singh and Achille Emana were positive in their runs and gave a scare or two. A real chance was presented to Balwant after Emana’s corner was headed out only to find Gerson Vieira. Vieira’s cross came straight to Balwant but he could not keep the ball down and he headed the ball over the goal post.
Zequinha was very impressive for the visitors with making good runs on the left hand side of the pitch. He showed strength and stamina but could not find the back of the net, all thanks to Amrinder. Amrinder shone brilliantly for The Islanders with making a barrage of saves to deny the visitors from taking the lead. The Islanders then applied pressure in the dying stages of the first half. But both teams headed to the dressing room with 0-0 as the scoreline.
The visitors started the second half aggressively with having lots of possession. Robbie Keane had a go at the goal as he let one fly off his left foot only to be saved by Amrinder. The goalkeeper was at his very best against an on-song ATK side. The visitors finally got their reward when Zequinha’s curling cross went wayward and wasn’t stopped at the near post and a Robin Singh touch sent it through Amrinder’s legs and into the goal.
There was intent shown by The Islanders in response to that goal. The home team was coming up with attacks but the ATK defence was up to the task as well. Ryan Taylor had a chance to double the lead through a free-kick but Amrinder, again, made an important save diving to his left to keep the hosts in the game.
The Islanders made attacking substitutions but were not allowed to get that elusive goal. ATK stuck to their guns and made sure they stopped Emana’s crosses in the late moments of normal time. Everton Santos went down in the box but no penalty was awarded for The Islanders despite protests. In another chance in the dying minutes, substitute Pranjal Bhumij’s strike was saved by a stretched Debjit. The home team was pressing high with lots of players in ATK’s half. In the final seconds of the game, Everton Santos’ strike in the penalty area was brilliantly saved from their goalkeeper to end the game 1-0 in ATK’s favour.
The Islanders remain on 5th position in the Hero ISL table. Mumbai City FC are on the road next to take on NorthEast United FC on Wednesday, 20th December at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati.