ATK Mohun Bagan made it a hat-trick of wins to remain second in the table and in a commanding position as far as the semifinal race is concerned, with a clinical 2-0 victory over FC Goa in the Indian Super League at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on Tuesday.
Manvir Singh (3rd, 46th) scored a brace on either side of halftime to ensure the Mariners stretched their unbeaten run to 11 games under Juan Ferrando who did a double over his former side after switching allegiances mid-season.
FC Goa’s slim chances of making the semis all but went up in smoke as they remained on 18 points from 17 outings.
The Mariners were at it from the word go, taking the lead as early as the third minute. Prabir Das’ cross was cleared for a corner by Dylan Fox. Liston Colaco whipped in a delightful flag kick for Manvir to flick the ball home with his back behind the goal. Dheeraj Moirangthem had little time to react as the Gaurs were stung early.
Goa upped the ante as the half went on and started asking a lot of questions of the ATKMB backline which had Sandesh Jhingan for the first time from the start.
Jorge Ortiz had a huge opportunity to kickstart Goa’s onslaught as he tried to find his teammate selflessly from a good angle only for Tiri to stick out a left boot and clear away the danger.
Liston was once again brilliant, making those dazzling runs and linking up well with Joni Kauko and Manvir. Anwar Ali found the crossbar soon after the cooling break when his rasping effort from long range came off the woodwork.
After the break, ATKMB doubled their advantage to pour cold water on Goa’s hard work and build-up play. One minute into the second half, Manvir scored his and the team’s second of the night as he pounced on a Lenny Rodrigues ball after Rodrigues latched on to a loose ball from Princeton Rebello. Manvir controlled the ball, dribbled past Dheeraj and guided the ball inside the goal.
Manvir almost got his hattrick four minutes later, getting on the end of a Liston ball but could not beat Dheeraj who did well to get his body on the line. ATKMB could have had more goals as Kauko and Manvir also spurned gilt-edged chances. Colaco hit the underside of the crossbar after he whipped in a cross from the left flank. Dheeraj finally scrambled to clear the danger. ATKMB held fort till the end to ensure all three points and maintain their upturn in form.