Juan Ferrando got off to a winning start as ATK Mohun Bagan coach after his side scraped past a spirited NorthEast United FC 3-2 in a thrilling Indian Super League game on Tuesday. Ferrando jumped from FC Goa to ATKMB after the Mariners unleashed Antonio Lopez Habas in a dramatic turn of events last week. Ferrando, dressed in an ATKMB travel polo, seemed unfazed by the noise around him and did his job, but was shocked early on when VP Suhair NorthEast United gave the lead in the second minute.
Hugo Boumous (53rd, 76th) scored a brace after Liston Colaco (45th) equalized for ATKMB, but Mashoor Shereef (87th) got the Highlanders late in the game.
In the end, the Kolkata side held on and recorded their first win in four games. ATKMB now has 11 points from seven games. NorthEast United remain ninth with seven points from eight games.
It wasn’t a fairytale start for Ferrando as ATKMB boss, as NorthEast went through in the second minute. Mathias Coureur floated at a delightful angle to the nearest pole where Suhair stood ready to nod home.
Buoyed by the early setback, ATKMB upped the ante and should have leveled it, except for Manvir Singh who shot over the bar from the penalty area.
Roy Krishna then had a couple of half chances, but good reflexes from Mirshad Michu to the northeast of the goal and Krishna’s inefficiency in keeping the ball in goal kept the score at 1-0.
For the Highlanders, seasoned defender Gurjinder Kumar was injured in the 26th minute and had to be replaced by Tondonba Singh. Colaco forced Michu into action with a fierce attempt from a corner in the penalty area, but the keeper managed to avert the danger well.
On the other hand, Amrinder Singh made a great save to keep Rochharzela’s long-range attempt at bay. Colaco then broke into the penalty area, but his shot from a sharp corner was again saved by Michu and the rebound was blocked brilliantly by Khasa Camara on Hugo Boumous.
Just when it looked like NorthEast would go into halftime with a 1-0 lead, Michu grazed a goal kick and the ball fell to Krishna who drove in a lovely cross, sending Colaco into the far corner.
After the break, ATKMB decided to change gears and Boumous made the 2-1 shortly after the restart to underline their intentions. NorthEast United failed to clear their lines for too long, leading to Subhasish Bose cutting the ball back from the left sideline for Boumous to outsmart the defender with a superb bit of skill and tap home.
Krishna then defeated a pair of defenders to take a wild swipe at goal before Carl McHugh gave way to Joni Kauko every hour.
Kauko was there from the start when the Finnish footballer played a pivotal role in the third goal, setting up Boumous with a beautifully weighted pass for the latter to put him in the net next to the keeper.
Towards the end of the game, substitute Shereef got NorthEast back into the game with a powerful shot from the penalty area.
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