The second leg of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21’s Semi-final 2 saw ATK Mohun Bagan prevail over NorthEast United FC 2-1 (3-2 on aggregate) at the Fatorda Stadium on Tuesday. In what was a closely-fought affair, goals from David Williams and Manvir Singh helped the Mariners seal their place in the Hero ISL final on Saturday, where they will battle Mumbai City FC for the prestigious trophy.
Javier Hernandez almost opened the scoring for the Mariners three minutes into the game but his effort from distance hit the post. They kept the pressure up, and in the 15th minute, Subhasish Bose attempted a shot which was parried away by the NorthEast United FC goalkeeper.
The first chance for the Highlanders came a minute later via Idrissa Sylla but his sizzling shot went wide of the post. And then a shot from distance from Luis Machado forced the ATK Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharja into a fingertip save in the 23rd minute of the game.
The Highlanders custodian Subhasish Roy did well to prevent Roy Krishna a goal from close range in the 37th minute but was unable to stop Williams from scoring the opening goal just a minute later. Krishna’s through-ball was brilliantly controlled by the Australian forward, who surged past Ashutosh Mehta and slotted the ball into the net.
The Mariners held onto their slender lead heading into the halftime break, although the Highlanders came close at the stroke of halftime. After Machado received a pass from Federico Gallego on the left, he crossed the ball into their attacking third. Lalengmawia managed to head the ball towards goal but Subhasish Bose did well to head it out of danger.
NorthEast United FC started their second half brightly, and Suhair did well to control Gallego’s pass and hit a shot just two minutes after the break. However, Arindam was sharp enough to get a touch on the ball and onto the post.
The Highlanders kept creating chances, and forced Arindam into another save in the 58th minute. Gallego found Machado with a lobbed pass, and the Portuguese winger took a touch and attempted a powerful shot from a tight angle which was pushed away by the ATK Mohun Bagan custodian.
Krishna was denied by some brilliant defending in the 61st minute. The Fijian striker got a touch on a cross from Williams but the effort lacked power. The Highlanders custodian spilled the ball but Ashutosh Mehta came to the team’s rescue and cleared it away.
It was Manvir who doubled ATK Mohun Bagan’s lead in the 68th minute. Krishna fed a pinpoint long ball into the feet of the Indian forward. After controlling the ball, Manvir cut into the ATK Mohun Bagan attacking third and did well to beat Gurjinder Kumar and Mashoor Shereef before curling the ball into the goal.
Suhair scored just before the final quarter of the match to bring his team back. Machado’s corner was headed towards goal by Benjamin Lambot and Arindam missed his punch. The ball hit the crossbar and fell to Suhair, who headed it into the bottom right corner to pull one back for his side.
In the 81st minute, Subhasish Bose was deemed to have fouled Sylla inside the penalty box, and the Highlanders earned a chance to resort parity from the penalty spot. The penalty duties were handed to Machado, but the winger blasted the spotkick over the crossbar to the disappointment of his team-mates.
NorthEast United FC worked very hard for the equaliser but couldn’t find it and ended up on the losing side.
ISL Media Release