PANJIM: Newly-merged ATK Mohun Bagan began their Indian Super League campaign with a narrow1-0 win over Kerala Blasters FC as Roy Krishna scored the lone goal of the game at Athletic Stadium, Bambolim, on Friday.
The match-winner was scored in the 67th minute when Manvir Singh played the ball in the box, which the Kerala defence Jose Vicente Gomez Umpierrez and Sergio Cidoncha both failed to clear. Cidoncha’s header fell into Roy Krishna's path, who drilled a low, shot to ensure full points.
The first half was a cagey affair but remained goalless after ATK Mohun Bagan failed to convert their chances. Meanwhile, Kerala Blasters dominated possession but lacked the end product in the final third.
It was Kerala Blasters who started brightly, intent on keeping the ball while ATK Mohun Bagan were keen on absorbing the pressure.
ATK had the chance to take the lead in what was the first corner delivery fell towards an unmarked Roy Krishna in the box but the Fijian failed to get the desired connection and scuffed it out for a goal-kick.
ATK Mohun Bagan were forced to make their first substitution in the 15th minute with Michael Soosairaj stretched off the field after being fouled by Prasanth, shortly after being released by Tiri on the left wing. He was replaced by Subhasish Bose.
Newcomers ATK Mohun Bagan had the opportunity to put themselves ahead, through a corner again, when Edu Garcia found Carl McHugh, who fired his header wide.
However, the best chance of the game fell to Krishna again, soon after the half-hour mark, as a result of a miss pass from Vicente Gomez, but the striker blazed his shot over the bar.
It was shortly after that where Kerala witnessed the best chance of the game after a spell of possession. Nongdamba Naorem whipped a cross from the left but a block from McHugh lobbed off towards the centre of the box. An onrushing Ritwik Das, unfortunately, missed the target from close distance.
Vicuna's men continued to dominate possession soon after the first half and their efforts led to a clear-cut opportunity. Carneiro burst forward and crossed a ball which fell towards Sahal Abdul Samad, who miscued his shot.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 67th minute when Kerala Blasters' defense failed to clear their lines, allowing Krishna to pounce and poke his shot past goalkeeper Albino Gomes.
Kerala Blasters pushed hard for an equaliser, bringing on Puitea and Jordan Murray, but were eventually let down by their poor finishing.