The Indian Super League playoff race is down to one available spot after ATK Mohun Bagan came from behind to register a 2-1 win against Kerala Blasters at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Saturday. ATKMB’s win lifted them to third, dropped the Blasters to fifth, and confirmed their playoff qualification this season. The Mariners trailed after Dimitrios Diamantakos opened the scoring but a Carl McHugh brace on either side of a Blasters sending off completed the turnaround.

In the earlier start on Saturday, a seven-minute triple-goal burst in the first half helped Jamshedpur FC beat Hyderabad FC 3-2 despite playing most of the second half with just ten men.

The game got off to an energetic start in Kolkata with ATKMB welcoming Ashique Kuruniyan and Hugo Boumous back into the starting lineup. Inside the first five minutes, both players stated their intent by registering the first two attempts on goal for the hosts.

Kerala Blasters were without the suspended Adrian Luna and added an additional striker in Apostolos Giannou to the starting lineup alongside Diamantakos. The duo had opportunities of their own, Diamantakos rippling the outside of the net in the opening couple of minutes before Giannou’s glancing header from Bryce Miranda’s freekick was saved comfortably by Vishal Kaith.

In the 16th minute, Giannou was picked out in the box with a through ball from Ivan Kaliuzhnyi. The striker played a one-touch pass into the path of Diamantakos, who fired it into the top-left corner. The lead lasted seven minutes as Dimitri Petratos’ menacing freekick from the left flank was tapped in by McHugh from close range.

Minutes past the hour-mark, in an effort to thwart an ATKMB counter-attack, Rahul KP dove in on Ashique. Play went on but the official returned to the incident and brandished a second yellow for Rahul as the Blasters were reduced to ten men.

In the 71st minute, the game turned on its head. Asish Rai whipped the ball in from the right flank as Manvir cushioned it into the path of McHugh, who powered in his second of the game with the outside of his boot. The tempo dropped after the Mariners took the lead, and no substantial attacks were forthcoming from the Blasters.

Jamshedpur win

Hyderabad FC made seven changes to their line-up. The new-look side made a slick start to the game, but it was a familiar name in Bartholomew Ogbeche who put them in front. The striker leaped between two defenders from a Rohit Danu corner to put his team 1-0 up in the 12th minute.

But Jamshedpur FC drew level in the 22nd minute, after moving the ball out wide to right-back Boris Singh. The winger’s high cross hung up at the far post, where Ritwik Das climbed above Reagan Singh to head home.

A few minutes later, Harry Sawyer got on the end of a low cross from the left, which was saved acrobatically by Lalbiakhlua Jongte on his ISL debut. From the resulting corner, Sawyer’s header was deflected by Ogbeche’s outstretched arm, and Jongte was sent the wrong way by Jay Thomas from the spot as Jamshedpur FC went ahead.

Things got even worse for Hyderabad FC, when Sawyer won an aerial duel in midfield to head the ball towards Daniel Chukwu in the 29th minute. Chukwu outmuscled Nim Dorjee to get a clear path on goal, before chipping over Jongte from outside the box to make it 3-1.

Hyderabad FC were given a way back into the game when Vishal Yadav’s slip during a goalkick put Javier Siverio one-on-one with him. Siverio was brought down by last man Eli Sabia, who was promptly sent off in the 56th minute.

In the 79th minute, Abdul Anjukandan’s cross from the right found its way through traffic to Ogbeche at the far post, who brought it under control and managed to get power on his shot despite losing his footing. It bobbled off Yadav into the near post to give the home team another way back.

Ogbeche was at it again in the 84th minute, leaping in a similar fashion to his first goal, but unable to keep his header under the crossbar. That was the closest they would come to an equaliser before Yadav leaped to his left to save a Siverio header in the ninth minute of stoppage time.

ISL Table

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Mumbai City (Q) 19 14 4 1 54 20 +34 46
2 Hyderabad (Q) 19 12 3 4 35 16 +19 39
3 ATK Mohun Bagan (Q) 19 9 4 6 22 17 +5 31
4 Bengaluru (Q) 19 10 1 8 24 22 +2 31
5 Kerala Blasters (Q) 19 10 1 8 28 27 +1 31
6 Odisha 19 9 3 7 30 30 0 30
7 Goa 19 8 3 8 35 32 +3 27
8 Chennaiyin 19 6 6 7 32 34 −2 24
9 Jamshedpur 19 4 4 11 19 32 −13 16
10 East Bengal 18 5 1 12 21 36 −15 16
11 NorthEast United 19 1 2 16 17 51 −34 5