East Goa: ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) marked its entry into the Indian Super League (ISL) in style as it secured a 1-0 victory over Kerala Blasters FC (KBFC) at the GMC Stadium here on Friday.
Roy Krishna scored the only goal of the game in the second half to bag the three points for his side. The first half was a cagey affair, with ATKMB failing to convert its chances. Kerala dominated possession, but lacked the end product in the final third.
It was KBFC which started brightly, keeping the ball, while the Kolkata side was keen on absorbing the pressure. The Mariners had the chance to take the lead off the first corner of the game, with the ball falling to an unmarked Krishna. The Fijian though failed to get the desired connection and scuffed it out for a goal-kick.
ATKMB was forced to make its first substitution in the 15th minute when Michael Soosairaj was stretchered off the field after being fouled by Prasanth Karuthadathkuni. He was replaced by Subhasish Bose. Bagan had the opportunity to put itself ahead, through a corner again soon.
Edu Garcia found Carl McHugh, but the Irishman fired his header wide. Krishna had another great chance soon after the half-hour mark, with the ball falling to him after a mistake by Vicente Gomez. However, the striker blazed his shot over the bar.
Shortly after that, Kerala had its best chance. Nongdamba Naorem whipped in a cross from the left but a block from McHugh lobbed off towards the centre of the box. An onrushing Ritwik Das, however, missed the target from close distance.
The deadlock was broken in the 67th minute due to a mistake by the Kerala defence. Sergio Cidoncha and Gomez made a mess while clearing Manvir Singh’s lobbed ball and diverted it into Krishna’s path. The Fijian made no mistake, scoring Bagan’s first goal of its ISL sojourn.