ATK Mohun are back on top of the ISL table with a comfortable 2-0 victory over NorthEast United FC on Sunday. Mumbai City, who have a game in-hand on ATK are a point behind with a game in hand.
In a match that often turned into a physical affair - six yellow cards were handed out - a seven-minute double early in the second half settled things in favour of ATKMB. As is becoming routine, Roy Krishna scored the first goal, in the 51st minute. Seven minutes later, an own-goal from Benjamin Lambot saw ATKMB double a lead they never looked like letting slip.
Antonio Habas made two changes to his ATKMB line-up with Sahil Sheikh making his first Hero ISL start. NEUFC coach Gerard Nus changed things around with five changes to his line-up.
ATKMB started brighter, keeping the ball and looking the more threatening of the two teams. However, they struggled to convert the control they had over the match into chances with NEUFC offering dogged resistance. They had a free kick in a threatening position during the 18th minute when Dylan Fox fouled Krishna just outside the penalty area. Carl McHugh, though, headed the resulting cross over the bar.
Just before the half-hour mark, Krishna spotted Prabir Das in a dangerous position and nearly found him only for NEUFC keeper Gurmeet Singh to make the save. Then, just before the half-hour mark, Das headed wide from a cross by Subhasish Bose.
Both teams went in locked in a goalless stalemate at half time.
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It was Krishna yet again, who broke the deadlock, with a superb diving header after Tiri flicked on a corner from Edu Garcia. The second goal came off another corner, Lambot battling with Jhingan as Garcia swung it in, and to inadvertently diverting it into his own goal off a hapless VP Suhair.
Post the goals, NorthEast struggled to fashion clear-cut chances. Their best attempt on goal came in the 71st minute when Federico Gallego grazed the crossbar with a freekick. That they only had a single shot on target throughout the match was testament to how comfortably ATKMB were able to see out the second half.
NorthEast United are sixth in the table, with 11 points in nine and face Hyderabad FC next on Jan 8. ATKMB have a blockbuster clash vs Mumbai City up next, on Jan 11.