In a first instance this season, ATK Mohun Bagan played out a goalless draw against Odisha FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at PJN Stadium, Goa on Sunday.
The battle was off to an exhilarating start with end-to-end football. ATK Mohun Bagan got the match underway and made early attempts to breach Odisha FC’s defence but the latter breathed a sigh of relief as opportunities went begging.
The chances continued to come in the first quarter from either side but the deadlock remained intact. In the 4th minute, Odisha FC got hold of the first corner but confounded Hector Ramirez lacked the control to put it inside the goal.
Then, the lethal Mariners’ frontline came close to scoring in the 15th minute. Liston Colaco’s through pass put Manvir Singh in a dangerous position and his cross to David Williams almost placed ATK Mohun Bagan in the lead, however, Victor Mongil intervened to keep things unchanged.
Colaco remained heavily involved in the proceedings as he put his hand up to take the free kick in the 39th minute that curled and dipped towards the top left corner but Odisha FC goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh leapt to avert the threat.
Despite an offensively strong first half, ATK Mohun Bagan failed to convert one of the 13 shots they attempted, however, Odisha FC’s defence stood solid.
Arshdeep was called in action yet again when the second half resumed. Williams headed the ball goalwards but the goalkeeper had things covered.
Six minutes later, a defensive lapse from the Mariners resulted in Jerry Mawihmingthanga finding a way to run away with the ball and take the shot, however, the ball went straight to the keeper.
Eventually, Odisha FC bounced back to put up a more compact performance in the second half with ATK Mohun Bagan losing some of its initial sparks.
In the game of fine margins, Javier Hernandez found the back of the net but the referee ruled him offside in the 83rd minute.
In the dying minutes, ATK Mohun Bagan created a golden opportunity as Carl McHugh chipped the ball inside the box to Prabir Das who faltered and went off target.
The encounter ended in an action-packed draw with both clubs still lurking in the mid table as Odisha FC holds 17 points to stay at sixth and ATK Mohun Bagan sits on seventh position with 16 points.
Odisha FC will next face Hyderabad FC on 27 January at the Tilak Maidan Stadium, meanwhile, ATK Mohun Bagan will lock horns with arch-rivals SC East Bengal in the Kolkata Derby on 29 January at the PJN Stadium.
Photo : www.indiansuperleague.com