ISL: Roy Krishna helps ATK steal a point against Mumbai City FC – football


ATK and Mumbai City FC traded goals deep in second-half stoppage time to play out a pulsating and physical 2-2 draw in ISL6 on Saturday. A significant part of the night was about Edu Garcia showing how much more than a super-sub he is. And why Real Zaragoza took him under their wings when he was 12. Micheal Soosairaj put ATK ahead; Mumbai City FC equalised through Pratik Chowdhary and went ahead through Kevyn Angoue in the 92nd minute. Roy Krishna’s opportunism on the half-turn made it 2-2 in the 95th minute.

Leaders ATK move to 11 points from six games and Mumbai City FC to six from as many games. Garcia played two seasons for the Spanish club of his hometown before joining Bengaluru FC in 2017. In December 2017, Garcia became the first player to be sold abroad from the ISL when Zhejang Greentown, a China League One club, paid Bengaluru FC $150,000 for the creative midfielder. Garcia was bought by ATK last December.

This term, he has been used as a replacement. Even then Garcia has scored three goals — as many as David Williams, the ATK striker, who has played every minute this season. Krishna has four goals and shares the top spot with Odisha FC’s Aridane Santana.

Garcia’s dexterity in the midfield almost made the difference between the teams. Playing behind Williams and Krishna, he was the heart and soul of ATK’s build-ups. It fit that he would play an integral part in the move that fetched Soosairaj’s 39th minute goal.

Following a give-go with Williams, Garcia snaked up and essayed a pass on the inside of Mumbai City FC right back Souvik Chakrabarti. Left wingback Soosairaj timed his run to meet the ball and opening his shoulders, placed it past Amrinder Singh in the away team’s goal.

Garcia had earlier tried a prompt beyond Mumbai City’s defensive line that was marginally long for Krishna. He was part of a five-pass move that ended with Javier Hernandez’s shot taking a deflection and going out.

Mumbai City FC left back Subhasish Bose planting his cleats on Garcia’s face and getting away with only a booking in the 30th minute was proof of how difficult Garcia was making the evening for the men in dark blue. Rowllin Borges grabbing his waist in the 76th showed Garcia’s influence hadn’t waned as the night wore on.

“I think Edu was very good today. He’s a great player. But we have seven foreign players and we need to rotate them,” said ATK coach Antonio Lopez Habas.

Mumbai City FC were faster off the blocks but till centre-back Carl McHugh hurt his ankle, the home side was in control. McHugh went off in the 60th and the equaliser came in the 62nd; central defender Pratik Chowdhury heading home Mohamed Larbi’s corner-kick.

By then Mumbai City FC were resorting to cynical and rash challenges — Chakraborti left his leg twice in a tackle and was stayed on the park —and referee Rahul Gupta being card-shy led to the tie becoming an ill-tempered contest.

“Football is not ballet and I liked the physical battles. I like this kind of referees who allows us to play. Today I feel we saw two very good teams and a very good referee as well,” said Mumbai City FC coach Jorge Costa. Habas refused to comment on the supervision.

After McHugh left, Mumbai City FC looked stronger and could have scored through Angoue. At the other end, Soosairaj scuffed a first-timer with Singh out of position. When Angoue tapped home Bipin Singh’s assist, it looked like ATK would lose their second game of the season. But Krishna had other ideas.


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