Suhair Vadakkepeedika (17th) gave NEUFC the lead early on before Joni Kauko (22nd) drew level only for Liston (45th) to make it 2-1 just before halftime. Liston was all over NEUFC in the second half as he fed Manvir Singh (52nd) for the team’s third goal before making way for Kiyan Nassiri in the 66th minute to cap off another brilliant night.
The result means ATKMB are now on 26 points from 14 games, two adrift of leaders Hyderabad FC who have played two matches more. NEUFC remained rock-bottom with 10 points from 17 games. ATKMB extended their unbeaten streak to 10 matches.
ATKMB missed the services of key players Hugo Boumous and Carl McHugh as both picked up injuries in the last game.
As expected, the Mariners started on the front foot with Liston Colaco’s early corner posing little threat and Manvir Singh’s effort saved by Subhasish Roy Choudhury.
Against the run of play, NEUFC took the lead. Marcelinho got a loose ball in the middle of the park and ran at the ATKMB defence to then find Suhair who rifled home from the edge of the box to beat Amrinder Singh in goal.
ATKMB got back in the game soon after cutting short NEUFC’s joy as Kauko fired home from outside the area after being set up by Colaco with no NorthEast United shirt closing the Finland international down.
Suhair tried to double his lead but shot over before Pritam Kotal drilled a free header wide from a corner. Just before halftime, the Mariners took the lead riding a Colaco strike to make it his seventh goal of the season. Kauko turned provider this time, laying the ball up for Colaco after an incisive run for the latter to slam the ball into the bottom right corner.
ATKMB moved up a gear in the second period, Manvir finding the back of the net as early as the 52nd minute after the exceptional Colaco snatched possession to send Manvir in the clear as the latter cut back to beat his marker and slot home past Subhashish.
Head coach Juan Ferrando also replaced Prabir Das with Sandesh Jhingan at halftime, the star defender playing for the first time this season since returning from Croatian club HNK Šibenik.
NEUFC created a host of chances after falling behind with Imran Khan, Hernan Santana and Marco Sahanek coming close to scoring. In the end, the green and maroon shirts held on to their lead and made it two wins in two games to exert their authority.