Kolkata, West Bengal: ATK boosted their chances of landing a top-four finish with a dominant performance to outsmart Jamshedpur FC 2-1 in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, Kolkata, on Sunday.
Two brilliant first-half free-kicks by Manuel Lanzarote in the third and 33rd minute sealed three points for Steve Coppell’s men. Mario Arques headed in a consolation goal for Jamshedpur in the 82nd minute for the visitors.
The Kolkata-based team moved to the fifth place in the standings with a head-to-head advantage over Jamshedpur. Both teams are tied on 20 points from 14 matches.
The hosts struck an early blow when Dhanachandra Singh’s mistimed tackle brought Edu Garcia’s dribble to a halt on the edge of the box in the third minute. Manuel Lanzarote’s excellent free-kick beat the wall and a diving goalkeeper Subrata Paul as it flew into the bottom right corner of the net.
The match turned into a cagey affair as the first half wore on with ATK prepared to sit back and counter-attack and Jamshedpur unable to penetrate the hosts’ backline.
Lanzarote had another chance from a free-kick in the 16th minute. The Spaniard aimed for the same corner as he did for his goal but Paul managed to tip the ball away.
In response, Jamshedpur tried to threaten from wide areas. Memo found Farukh Choudhary’s run down the right flank but the winger’s drilled return to the midfielder was cleared for a corner by an alert Arnab Mondal. Pratik Choudhary directed a free header over the bar from the resulting corner-kick.
Edu Garcia and Lanzarote combined to produce a feeling of déjà vu for ATK and double the lead in the 33rd minute. Similar to the opening goal, Dhanachandra stopped Edu Garcia’s dart by bringing him down on the edge of the box and Lanzarote found the top right corner with a stunning free-kick.
Lanzarote had a free role in the attacking third and Jamshedpur struggled to contain the threat emanating from the ATK midfield.
The Spaniard’s dangerous ball in behind the defence for Everton Santos was smothered by Subrata before the striker could get to it. Minutes later, Lanzarote delivered a finesse effort on target, with the goalkeeper making a save this time.
The visitors went close in the 81st minute. Bikash Jairu’s chip towards the far post was met by Jerry Mawhmingthanga but his close-range effort was denied by the crossbar.
Jamshedpur managed to pull a goal back a minute later through Arques. A short corner-kick was sent to the near post by Jairu and an unmarked Arques leapt the highest to head in.