It just had to be him, isn’t it? After making the debut Indian Super League (ISL) season his own by being the joint highest-scorer (15 goals) for last year’s champions ATK, Roy Krishna got ISL-7 and ATK Mohun Bagan going with the decisive winner against Kerala Blasters FC at a closed GMC Stadium in Bambolim, Goa, on Friday.
In an otherwise unusual start to this unusual pandemic-hit ISL season that saw multiple muffed chances, an injury substitution inside the first 15 minutes and a drinks breaks in either half, the Fijian striker made the difference in a 1-0 victory for the new ATK Mohun Bagan combine.
Krishna broke the deadlock seven minutes after an hour of football during which neither team really managed to seize control. In space on the left, substitute Manvir Singh scooped the ball back towards the box for Javi Hernandez and the interception was messed up by Kerala Blasters defenders with Vicente Gomez Umpierrez and Sergio Cidoncha clashing with each other. The loose ball was pounced on by an unmarked Krishna, who ran in a few steps and fired with from his left foot, the shot swerving away from Kerala goalkeeper Albino Gomes.
It brightened the evening for both ATK Mohun Bagan and Krishna, who saw chances to dominate the match go abegging in the first half. Krishna had a couple, the first when he failed to connect inside the box from a corner-kick in the fourth minute and another half an hour later, his shot sailing over from just outside the box.
While ATK Mohun Bagan seemed to be making more inroads in the first half, Kerala Blasters asked a few questions of their own to the opposition defence at the start of the second before Krishna’s strike made them pay for some poor finishing.
“We got three points and that is important. It has not been a usual pre-season so credit to the team. Kerala couldn’t take their chances and we did,” said Antonio Lopez Habas, ATK Mohun Bagan’s coach.