FULL-TIME: FC Goa 3-0 ATK
FC Goa: 1′ Jackichand Singh (Assist: Coro); 52′ Coro; 81′ Coro (Penalty).
Two-time champions ATK are on the brink of losing out on a play-off spot for a second consecutive season while a rampant FC Goa look like contenders for the title.
Much like a Mike Tyson fight, Goa delivered a sucker punch in the first minute before the spectators had time to settle down. Coro made a run with the ball into the box from the right flank and pulled back a pass for the oncoming Jackichand Singh who scored with a first-time shot at the keeper’s near post.
Leading by a goal, Goa continued attacking in numbers and came close to doubling their lead a few times. ATK without Lanzarote and with Everton Santos playing deeper than usual looked toothless in attack and were lucky to be only a goal behind as the teams went into the half-time break.
The Gaurs started the second half much in the same vein as the first and scored seven minutes after the restart. The Goan fullback Mandar Rao took a shot on goal from the edge of the box and the keeper parried the ball into the path of Coro – and Goa went 2-0 up.
ATK never really found their way into the game tonight. The Running Sum graph showcases their mediocrity in attack. No clear-cut chances were created and their players bar Edu Garcia don’t feature among the top shooters and creators.
Garcia who was signed in the January window has made an immediate impact for ATK – but tonight, he was largely peripheral in the first half, but did get away a few shots in the second. However, without Lanzarote, it was too much of an ask for Edu Garcia to have a relevant impact on the game.
Coro had chances to score a couple of goals in the second half, but he scuppered them and instead won himself a penalty. As Goa went 3-0 up and wrapped up the game, it bodes well to remember that this is their fourth clean sheet in a row. They haven’t conceded since the league resumed and apart from their usual penchant for goals, they’ve added defensive solidity – which was a chink in their armour.
With Bengaluru stuttering and stopping as we reach the end of the season, Goa will be strong favourites to win the title.
ATK have next to no chance of qualifying for the play-offs and will now try to shore up a Super Cup place. Although they will end up in a better position than last season where they finished ninth, they never really got going this season and could not string results together. ATK have a habit of hiring a new manager every season – however, if they persist with Steve Coppell, next season could also be a tale of mid-table obscurity for the two-time league winners.