Robbie Keane scores an early goal, ATK finishes on 9th place.
ATK ensured that they would not be the last team on the points tally as they defeated hapless North-East United FC 1-0 at their own backyard at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Hero Indian Super League(ISL) on Sunday. Robbie Keane(10’) goal the difference to avoid the defending champion to finish at the bottom. Robbie Keane was also the caretaker coach of the team as Ashley Westwood was not their coach anymore.
The Highlanders got a chance on the 6th minute when John Mosquera passed the ball to Maic Sema. Maic’s shot lacked precision as the ball missed the target.
Four minutes later, Conor Thomas put the ball over the defenders fascinatingly to find Irish talisman Robbie Keane who just poked the ball and the ball found it’s way to the net. Home crowd leaped in joy as ATK went up ahead in tie 1-0. Robbie Keane scored his 6th goal of the season.
Moments later NEUFC equalised after Malemngamba Meitei found John Mosquera inside the box. John Mosquera bulged the ball inside the net but the referee blew his whistle to disallow as the linesman had already waved his flag up as it was offside.
John Mosquera had another chance in the 36th minute. Helio Pinto intercepted a pass and put it through to the Colombian. John Mosquera with his pace outrun his position marker but couldn’t convert it into an goal on a one-on-one situation as the custodian gathered the ball.
The home team went off the ground with head high as they were leading the scoreline 1-0.
After the break, both the teams had a sluggish and slow start as both sides player’s lacked the creativity to create chances. At the hour mark, Robbie Keane assisted Sibongakonke Mbatha who made a blazing run inside the opposition’s penalty box but his shot just went wide.
Two minutes after the hour mark, Zequinha and Sibongakonke Mbatha paired up and made an amazing counter attack. Mbatha took the shot but the ball just went wide of the goal-post.
North-East United pushed hard for an elusive goal in the dying minutes and was rewarded with an free kick on 87th minute. Marcinho took the set piece and sailed the ball towards Danilo Lopez before the latter couldn’t connect with the ball as it went wide.
ATK ended their gross season on a victorious note as they finished ninth with 16 points from 18 games. NEUFC never had a chance to make a come-back into the league after their inferior season which ended with 11 points from 18 matches.