Robbie Keane struck late in the second half to help two-time champions ATK pip Delhi Dynamos 1-0 in an Indian Super League encounter, in Kolkata on Saturday.
The former Ireland and Spurs player injected life into the game with a spectacular finish in the 78th minute to score his first goal of the season. This was ATK’s second win from six matches as they climbed to seventh position in the league table with eight points.
After being routed by Pune 1-4 in their first home appearance of 2017, this was ATK’s first home win of the season. Keane, the ‘Player of the Match’, celebrated it with a double somersault and gestured with folded hands towards their gallery where co-owner Sourav Ganguly was cheering the side.
An innocuous move from the Conor Thomas saw Bipin Singh create that perfect opportunity for the Irish man by heading down a long ball from the centre of the pitch.
Having seen his assists missed by his teammates, the 37-year-old calmly received the ball, turned around to deceive the Delhi duo of captain Pritam Kotal and Rowilson Rodrigues, before a clinical finish handed Delhi their fifth straight defeat.
ATK were a better side in the first-half and had the better share of chances but missed to score at least half a dozen chances. The best among them was by Zequinha, who missed a sitter after clearing two defenders with a brilliant run from the midfield.
The Portuguese midfielder entered the box from the wide left and aimed at the far post but his right-footer went wide. Their star Irish captain Keane looked in his element and set it up brilliantly from left as well as right flanks but none of them were converted.
The first chance came as early as the fifth minute when Keane set it up from the left with a beautiful cross but Jayesh Rane’s header was wayward. Rane, who started from the bench in their win at Mumbai City FC in the last round, was for the first time named in the starting XI but only to let go a glorious opportunity.
Rane further missed out another opportunity in the 58th minute as ATK were headed for a third draw of the season. In the 50th minute, Rane forwarded a quality ball for their captain Keane, who attempted a shot at goal but goalkeeper Arnab Sharma pulled off a good save to deny him from scoring his maiden ISL goal.
In the 69th minute, Ryan Taylor struck a splendid corner that curled in but Thomas’ header found the roof of the net as ATK were still looking for that elusive goal before the Keane magic. Romeo Fernandes was the most impressive for Delhi and created opportunities from the right flank but they paled in comparison.