Kolkata: Trindade Goncalves’ decisive penalty post the hour mark sinked ATK to a hat-trick of defeats, as Jamshedpur edged closer to a play-off berth with a 1-0 victory at the Viveknanda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium here on Sunday.
The win took them to fifth, level on points (19) with FC Goa but behind on goal difference. The ‘Gaurs’ have +6 which is more than Jamshedpur’s +1.
ATK’s defend deep tactics meant Hitesh Sharma had to come down to help and it was he whose reckless challenge on Goncalves earned the visitors a respite, one they didn’t let go off. The Brazilian himself stood up and send goalkeeper Debjit Mazumdar the wrong way, to earn his team an important victory.
The win by such a narrow margin will however disappoint them after what was a complete dominating performance from the Indian Super League (ISL) newbies. With 26 shots at goal they never looked like a team that would leave without scoring and although they bridged the ATK defence only through a penalty-kick, it could have been a lot more worse for the defending champions, whose total shots were a meagre eight.
Jerry picked out Goncalves’ run in the right flank, who entered the box but was stopped by Hitesh Sharma’s uncontrolled tackle, that earned his side a penalty and the 21 year-old made no mistake from the spot. He had struck the upright minutes earlier, but didn’t let one more chance jitter.
Earlier, it was the visitors who controlled the proceedings with some great build-up play but shot wide on most of occasions — only 8 of their 26 shots were on target — ATK’s corresponding no was four.
Debjit after a couple of horrendous errors against Chennaiyin in the last encounter pulled out some good saves on the night, to keep his side in the game. His one-handed save despite being on the wrong foot remained the highlight of what was a good match for him, marred by only the penalty ATK conceded.
The defending champions though had rare but some great chances to score, but in a night of missed chances, they too joined the party. Martin Paterson’s shot from a David Cottrell corner had Jamshedpur custodian Subrata Paul diving to keep scores level, while Robin Singh’s shot was easily parried away in the first-half.
Both Singh and Paterson missed open headers later as did Jayesh Rane after Rupert Nongrum found him with a delicate through ball but failed to score. Yet, ATK’s most memorable moment was the 91st minute, when a 17 year-old Komal Thatal replaced Rane in the pitch and cheers rolled across the stadium. He immediately created a chance for himself but shot straight at the goalkeeper.
The loss their third consecutive, after defeats to Pune and Chennaiyin and sixth overall means the reigning champions’ chance of making the play-offs looks slim. They stand on eight position, on 12 points from the same no of matches.