ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) cut Mumbai City FC’s lead to one point and set-up a tantalising endgame in the race for the AFC Champions League spot with a 2-0 win over Bengaluru FC (BFC) at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa on Tuesday.
Roy Krishna and Marcelinho scored in the first half to help ATKMB climb to 33 points from 16 matches. BFC, on the other hand, remain stuck in sixth position on 19 points, with a play-off berth increasingly looking distant.
Naushad Moosa’s side started the evening by having nearly two-thirds of the possession. But much of it was sterile passing, without a shot on goal.
Gurpreet stands firm
Antonio Habas set up his side to play on the break, but found Gurpreet Singh Sandhu an unshakeable force. Marcelinho first came close, but his low shot at the end of a mazy run went straight at Gurpreet. It was then Krishna’s turn, but he too couldn’t beat the BFC custodian.
On the half-hour mark, Carl McHugh unleashed a superb left-footer from 30 yards but a leaping Gurpreet tipped it over.
The pressure finally told when defender Pratik Chaudhari lost the ball, and then to compensate clumsily brought down Krishna inside the penalty area. The ATKMB star sent Gurpreet the wrong way for his 12th goal of the season.
Just before the break, Marcelinho doubled the lead with an expertly taken free-kick after Harmanjot Khabra’s wild challenge brought David Williams down in the inside-right channel. Replays suggested the foul was inside the box, but Marcelinho made BFC pay nonetheless, beating Gurpreet handsomely at the near post.
On 58 minutes, Manvir Singh, after collecting a fine through-ball from Krishna, forced another fine save from Gurpreet. For the second game running, the National team goalie was his team’s best player, only to be let down by his teammates.
The result: Bengaluru FC 0 lost to ATK Mohun Bagan 2 (Krishna 37, Marcelinho 44).
Wednesday’s match: Chennaiyin FC v Jamshedpur FC, 7.30 p.m .