Mumbai, Jan 4 (IANS) ATK brought Mumbai City FCs six-game unbeaten run in the Indian Super League to an end after a 2-0 win at the Mumbai Football Arena here on Saturday.
First-half goals by Pronay Halder (29′) and Michael Soosairaj (43′) were enough as Mumbai City were left to rue the chances they missed.
The win saw ATK draw level on points (21) at the top of the table with FC Goa while Mumbai City are placed fourth (16).
A frantic start to the match saw both goalkeepers being tested early in the game. Mumbai custodian Amrinder Singh had to get down smartly to keep out a long-ranger from Jayesh Rane in the third minute, while Diego Carlos stung ATK goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya’s palms with a good effort from inside the box minutes later.
Mumbai continued to trouble the ATK defence as the game wore on with Mohammed Larbi and Amine Chermiti going close in quick succession. The pick of the chances, though, went to Modou Sougou after Carlos fed Chermiti down the left. But the Moroccan’s cutback from the byline was sent straight at Arindam by Sougou.
ATK saw off that spell of pressure and started to make inroads of their own. Roy Krishna shot agonisingly wide in the 22nd minute after a lovely reverse pass from Rane found him in space inside the box.
ATK were not to be denied in the 29th minute when Javier Hernandez and Roy Krishna combined delightfully to send David Williams into the penalty box. The Australian had the presence of mind to pick out an onrushing Pronay Halder who slotted it into the net.
The celebrations, though, were soured by an injury that Halder picked up, forcing Antonio Habas to send in Michael Soosairaj in place of the goalscorer. That move paid off handsomely in the 43rd minute when Soosairaj found himself in possession down the left-wing. He went on to place a superb curler into the far corner to double ATK’s advantage at the break.
A stung Mumbai City showed greater urgency in the second half as they sought a way back into the game. As Jorge Costa’s men mounted pressure on ATK’s defence, the likes of Roy Krishna and Soosairaj were finding spaces to run too.
One such move saw Soosairaj twist and turn Pratik Chaudhury, before picking out Krishna at the near post. But his first-time volley from close range rattled back off the crossbar.
Mumbai, at the other end, had no luck either. Sougou did find the back of the net in the 68th minute but the effort was chalked out for offside. The Islanders continued to pepper the ATK goal with attempts but saw chances go begging, thanks to a combination of last-ditch defending and poor finishing. Chermiti was denied in the 74th minute after a desperate goal-line clearance following a scramble inside the box.
Towards the end, Sougou hit the woodwork as well as Mumbai were left to ponder the chances they wasted.