FULL-TIME: ATK 1-3 Mumbai City FC
ATK: 67′ Andre Bikey (Assist: Pritam Kotal).
Mumbai City FC: 26′ M. Sougou (Assist: P. Bhumij); 39′ M. Sougou (Assist: Arnold Issoko); 60′ M. Sougou (Assist: Paulo Machado).
Mumbai City FC rode on a Modou Sougou hat-trick to pick up an easy win against ATK and secure their place in the play-offs.
The Islanders had lost three games on the trot and desperately needed a result to arrest their slide and book their place in the play-offs. ATK on the other hand were without John Johnson tonight and their defence looked vulnerable without his experience.
With ATK pressing high across the pitch, the first of Sougou’s goals arrived in the 26th minute from a beautiful ball over the top from Pranjal Bhumij. Sougou latched onto the ball, got away from his markers and rolled a deft left-footed finish past the keeper.
Arnold Issoko ran the ATK defence haggard from the right flank tonight and looked dangerous every time he got on the ball. The Congolese winger is among the top 3 chance creators in the league (xG). He setup the second goal for Mumbai after picking up another ball over the top on the right flank and crossing it into Sougou who scored with a first-time finish.
Mumbai were 2-0 up and well on course to victory as the teams went into the half-time break.
The resumption after the break saw Mumbai sitting back deeper than usual and playing on the break. ATK were without their top scorer and creative force Lanzarote tonight. Their forwards Balwant Singh and Kalu Uche have a poor return of two goals between them this entire season.
This pretty much meant they were reliant on Edu Garcia to be the creative force. Garcia who was fighting for fitness going into this game got a few shots away, but he wasn’t at his best tonight and lacked support. They did have a couple of notable attempts on goal – Balwant Singh had his swivel shot saved by the Mumbai keeper while Kalu Uche shot high and wide a few yards from goal as ATK struggled to piece attacks together.
Another damning statistic which would prove telling is that ATK are last on the chance creation metric in the league. Their collective chance quality (0.69) tonight is less than half of Mumbai City tonight and although they got quite a few shots away, the attempts were feeble and they never looked like getting anything out of the game tonight.
Sougou got his third of the night in the 60th minute to deliver the play-off spot to Mumbai. Paulo Machado’s through ball sneaked past ATK’s defence and with Sougou receiving it and going 1v1 with the keeper, it wasn’t going to end well for ATK as they conceded a third.
Andre Bikey got a consolation for the side from Kolkata from a well-taken header inside the box in the 67th minute.
With tonight’s loss, ATK are out of the play-off race and the two-time champions have failed to qualify for the play-offs for a second consecutive league campaign.
Mumbai City FC on the other hand have dished out some sweet revenge by qualifying for the play-offs at ATK’s expense. ATK had denied them a place in the final by beating them in the semi-finals a couple of seasons ago. Last season, Mumbai finished seventh on the table and qualifying for play-offs this season is a marked improvement.