Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) might have been coming on the back of a 4-1 victory over Mumbai City FC, but their problems up front were still out there for everyone to see, as they slumped to yet another 1-0 defeat at the hands of North East United FC (NEUFC), on Saturday.
ATK fielded re-signed Mohammed Rafique , in an attempt to turn their fortune around, but it did not seem to have made any difference, as NEUFC were awarded an early penalty, which Simao Sabrosa slotted gleefully.
There was some controversy over whether the penalty was legitimate, and video evidence seemed to suggest that Carlos Javier Lopez went down a little too easily. However Nato did have his arm on Lopeza s back, and the referee was in his right to point towards the spot.
ATK mounted on the attack quite often, going forward in search of the goal, which remained elusive for them. Their best possible chance to score a goal came in the second half, when Rafique sent in a cross from the right for striker Ian Hume to tap into an empty goal. However NEUFC defender Andre Bikey lunged into a brilliant tackle, to intercept the low cross, and send it out for a corner. ATK kept 56 per cent of the ball, and created most of the chances. They had nine shots on target, compared to just two by NEUFC.
However, NEUFC did have their own chances, with Argentine forward Nicolas Velez making a lot of runs into the ATK box, on the counter. However, his final shot or pass was always off the mark, as the score remained 1-0 till the end.
This win hauls NEUFC out of the bottom of the table, as they sit on 10 points. Although they are still on the seventh spot, there is just four points between them and FC Goa, who are on the top spot, in the Indian Super League Table. NEUFC have a difficult away game at Chennayin FC in their next match, and would be looking to build on this win to get some points against the side that is managed by Italian World Cup winner Marco Materazzi.
Man of the match Andrey Bikey said, a We know what we are looking for, we know ita s a difficult situation. But we have to concentrate and try to win and be in the playoff situation.
a We [were] 1-0 up and tried to get them on counter attack. But thata s football, and we are happy with 3 points. We just have to keep going and perform like tonight, and get the results.a
The problems seem to be mounting for ATK manager Antonio Habas however, as his side looks desperately in need of a striker. Their next match is against a resurgent Kerala Blasters FC, and it would be interesting to see whether Habas gets a new striker, or whether he changes the system completely.
Image Courtesy: ISL Media Team