Former Mariners return to haunt ATK Mohun Bagan as Bengaluru win 2-1
Two former Mariners came back to haunt ATK Mohun Bagan in their 16th match in the 2022-23 Indian Super League season as they suffered a 1-2 defeat against Bengaluru in Kolkata’s Salt Lake Stadium. Javi Hernandez and Roy Krishna were on target for the Blues, while for the Mariners, Dimitri Petratos was the lone goal-scorer.
Though his team won the last match against Odisha 2-0, ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando was forced to make two changes to his starting XI. Hugo Boumous and Ashique Kuruniyan were both suspended, and in their places, Federico Gallego and Liston Colaco were handed starts.
On the other hand, Bengaluru came into this match buzzing with confidence, having won all of their last four matches. Hence, their head coach Simon Grayson fielded the same team that defeated Chennaiyin 3-1 in their last match.
The hosts had the better start and had their first chance in only the second minute. After receiving a through ball from Colaco, Petratos found Subhasish Bose unmarked, but the full-back’s shot was nowhere near the target.
The Blues had their first opportunity five minutes later. Hernandez found Krishna with a pass, who then set Sivasakthi Narayanan free. The young winger did well to get a shot in, but it was not on target either.
Two minutes later, it was the hosts’ turn to waste another attack. Right-back Asish Rai found Colaco with a pass, who chose not to go for glory himself and instead found Petratos. The Australian striker, however, struck his shot high into the night sky.
The roller-coaster game continued to ebb and flow, as in the 15th minute, Grayson’s side returned the favour by letting a chance go begging. Roshan Naorem’s grounded cross found Krishna, who laid off the ball for Hernandez. However, the Spaniard could not trouble the Mariners’ custodian, Vishal Kaith, with his shot.
The first time any of the goalkeepers had to earn their money was in the 19th minute. Carl McHugh played a wonderful diagonal ball on the right flank for Rai, who launched the trigger in sublime fashion. His effort was on target, but the Blues’ goalkeeper, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu pulled off a good save to keep his team in the game.
The visitors almost opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark. The pairing of Krishna and Narayanan caused the Mariners trouble yet again, as the Fijian’s pass was received by the Indian who then let go of a shot, which was saved by Kaith.
Unlike the first half, the Blues had a better start to the second half and had a few opportunities early on. Inside the first ten minutes since the resumption, three Bengaluru players in Alan Costa, Hernandez and Narayanan tried long rangers, although neither of those shots troubled Kaith.
Grayson’s team continued launching one attack after another on the goal-mouth of Ferrando’s team, which was almost split open in the 68th minute. Prabir Das delivered a cross for Krishna, and although the latter could not receive it, it fell for Hernandez who dragged his shot wide.
However, it did not matter much as the former ATK Mohun Bagan eventually scored in the 78th minute. Roshan put in another cross from the left flank and Hernandez attempted a brilliant volley. This time around, his shot was on target and found the back of the net.
Although the Mariners threw the kitchen sink at the Blues after going down, the third goal of the game was once again scored by Bengaluru in the 91st minute.
Pablo Perez delivered a menacing cross, and while Kaith got a hand to it, he could only palm it into the feet of Krishna. With the entire goal gaping, the player with 24 goals for ATK Mohun Bagan simply could not fail to rub salt in the wounds of his former employers.
However, it was not the last action of the game, as the Mariners finally managed to score in the 93rd minute. Petratos tried his luck with a long ranger, and while Gurpreet had his angles covered, a deflection off Costa caught him off-guard as the ball found the back of the net. That being said, it was nothing more than a mere consolation.
With this win, Bengaluru has climbed to sixth place with 25 points in 17 matches. They will now take on Kerala Blasters in a mouth-watering Southern Derby on Saturday while ATK Mohun Bagan, who remains fourth with 17 points from 16 games, will be up against Jamshedpur on Thursday.