Football Indian Super League

Blues stutter again as Mariners take full points

FATORDA: Bengaluru FC were dealt a blow in their hopes of making a playoff spot in the 2020-21 Indian Super League, as Naushad Moosa’s side went down 0-2 to ATK Mohun Bagan, at the Fatorda Stadium, on Tuesday. First-half goals from Roy Krishna and Marcelinho Pereira were enough to hand the side from Kolkata all three points, as the Blues remained four away from the final playoff spot.

Moosa made two changes to the side that drew with Chennaiyin FC, with Rahul Bheke and Kristian Opseth replacing Parag Shrivas and Cleiton Silva. Antonio Habas, meanwhile, made three of his own; Prabir Das, Carl McHugh and David Williams coming in place of Pritam Kotal, Pronay Halder and Javier Hernandez.

Looking to impose themselves on the game, Bengaluru dominated possession in the opening stages but couldn’t make things tick in the final third. At the other end, it was ATK Mohun Bagan who had the first shot on target through Marcelo Pereira, who drove through the midfield before seeing his effort saved.

On the half hour mark, Carl McHugh nudged Suresh Wangjam off the ball and had an effort from distance that Gurpreet Singh Sandhu did well to push away. Not long after, it was the visitors who made the breakthrough, when Pratik Chaudhari brought down Roy Krishna in the box, prompting Rowan Arumughan to point to the spot. The Fijian sent Gurpreet the wrong way to give ATK Mohun Bagan the lead.

The Mariners then doubled their lead in the closing stages of the first half, when Marcelinho’s free kick from the edge of the box beat Gurpreet at the near post.

Gurpreet made two good saves to prevent the visiting side from extending their lead in the second period. Only minutes after the restart, the Blues’ number one got a strong hand to block Sandesh Jhingan’s effort following a corner. Then, on the hour mark, he was called to action once again, when he stood strong to deny Manvir Singh at the near post.

The Blues were then dealt a blow with Bheke having to be substituted out with what looked like a hamstring injury.

Moosa introduced Spanish midfielder Xisco Hernandez with thirty minutes left on the clock as the Blues looked to regain a foothold in the game. However, Bengaluru couldn’t find a way past ATK Mohun Bagan at the Fatorda. The hosts had a final chance to halve the deficit when Chhetri made space for himself outside the box, but his shot was saved well by Arindam in the ATK Mohun Bagan goal.