ATK Mohun Bagan moved back up into third place with a 2-0 victory over Odisha FC in the Indian Super League at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday. Dimitri Petratos bagged a brace to end the Mariners’ two-game goalless spell. The loss, combined with Bengaluru FC’s win earlier in the day, dropped Odisha FC out of the playoff spots with a game in hand.
In the other match on Saturday, Bengaluru FC struck a massive blow to fellow playoff aspirants Chennaiyin FC, sealing three points with a 3-1 win at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium. The win, their fourth in a row, put them into the top six for the first time since Matchweek 2 of the season, and created a five-point cushion between themselves and Chennaiyin FC.
The wait for the opening goal of the match was not long as Petratos put ATK Mohun Bagan in front after just three minutes. Manvir Singh’s cross was deflected by Osama Malik before Hugo Boumous’ clever pass guided the ball straight to Petratos, who slotted it home.
ATK Mohun Bagan started the second half exactly like they started the first - on the front foot. Two minutes in, Ashique Kuruniyan waltzed into the box from the left flank, but his eventual shot was wayward. At the other end, Odisha FC failed to keep yet another attempt on target as Carlos Delgado’s optimistic effort from range went sailing over the bar.
In an extremely cagey affair, the hosts had to wait till the 80th minute for their second goal. With a beautifully executed move, Boumous picked Asish Rai on the right flank. Completely unmarked, the right-back galloped into the box before playing a low ball across the face of goal, which was tapped in by Petratos.
Bengaluru FC back in a playoff position
A first half full of errors allowed the home team to stamp their authority on the game. Sivasakthi Narayanan led the charge for Bengaluru FC, pouncing on a well-weighted chip from Roy Krishna who was back defending a corner in the 15th minute. Sivasakthi began his run from his own half but used his pace and touch to set up a one-on-one with goalkeeper Samik Mitra, before slotting it into his near post.
Seven minutes later, Sivasakthi was lurking as Jiteshwor Singh fumbled a sideways pass in the centre of Chennaiyin FC’s defense. The forward was on hand to steal the ball, keep his composure, and chip it over the on-rushing keeper.
Just past the half-hour mark, it was Rohit Kumar’s turn to do the same, as he intercepted Mitra’s feeble pass towards Julius Duker who was facing his own goal. After a brief tussle, Kumar emerged with the ball and passed it into the net from between Mitra’s legs as he rushed out.
Chennaiyin FC came out for the second half with three personnel changes, a change in formation, and a lot more intent. One of the substitutes, Edwin Vanspaul, found himself free on the right side of the box after Jiteshwor won a midfield duel and played him in - he wrapped his left foot around the ball to curl it past Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to make it 3-1 in the 59th minute.
Bengaluru FC’s only big chance of the half came in the 84th minute, when substitute Bruno Ramires’ first touch was a thundering volley that Mitra pushed away. A few more nervy moments came in stoppage time, but the Blues managed to hold on for a crucial result.
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