ATK Mohun Bagan defeat Hyderabad FC in Penalty Shootout to Enter ISL Final


It was a scintillating display of football at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata in the second leg of the semifinals between ATK Mohun Bagan FC and Hyderabad FC. Mariners went past the challenge of defending Indian Super League champions after a nail-biting penalty shootout which concluded after the Mariners captain Pritam Kotal slotted the ball past Gurmeet Singh to hand his side a 4-3 win.

ATK Mohun Bagan proved to be the dominant force in the match, while Hyderabad FC struggled to break through their defense, managing only one shot on target in the entire 120-minute encounter. Although both teams displayed solid defenses, it was ATK Mohun Bagan who created more promising goal-scoring opportunities, which could have led to a different outcome before the penalty shootout.

Credits – ISL Media

The second leg of the semifinals presented a complete contrast to the first leg, as Hyderabad FC failed to replicate their impressive start, and it was now ATK Mohun Bagan who were creating several good chances. Despite their dominance, the Mariners were unable to capitalize on their opportunities. The opening chance of the game fell to Borja of Hyderabad FC, and later Petratos and Glan Martins came close to scoring but missed by inches. Manvir Singh was unfortunate not to score, as his shot struck the woodwork and denied ATK Mohun Bagan their first goal of the match.

Hyderabad FC’s Sahil Tavora was in excellent form, thwarting the opposition’s attacks. Meanwhile, the midfield led by Carl McHugh of ATK Mohun Bagan was doing an excellent job, forming a strong mid-block that proved difficult for Hyderabad FC’s attackers to break through. Despite making 11 crosses, the Nizams were only able to hit the target once. ATK Mohun Bagan’s players, including Glan Martins, Pritam Kotal, and Slavko Damjanovic, who possessed a physically dominant presence, won most of the duels in the match, thus making things difficult for the Nizams.

Kiyan Nassiri was substituted at halftime to bring in Liston Colaco. Although Hugo Boumous didn’t have much impact in the first half, he soon came into the frame after receiving a superb cross from Ashish Rai, but Gurmeet Singh was able to save the goal. Hyderabad FC were fighting to find a way back into the game, and Joel Chianese managed to break through the Mariner’s defense, but Borja was unable to capitalize on the opportunity. Despite having scored the latest goals this season (13), Hyderabad FC struggled to unlock ATK Mohun Bagan’s defense.

At the 81-minute mark, Petratos delivered a stunning set piece that could have been the deciding moment of the match. Unfortunately, Slavko Damjanovic failed to connect with the ball properly, as it went inches away from the goal. Despite being the top scorer and a crucial piece of the puzzle for Hyderabad FC’s attacking strategy, Bartholomew Ogbeche was kept in check by the Mariners’ defense. Juan Ferrando and Manolo Marquez attempted to change the route of the game by making substitutions, but they were unable to find the necessary balance. Carl McHugh had the best chance of the game, a free header from a corner in the 93rd minute, but the ball went wide.

The game went into extra time after a 0-0 scoreline at 90′. The intensity and pace of the game went down during the extra time as the humidity and pressure was affecting the fitness and mentality of both the team’s players.

It was still ATK Mohun Bagan who got two best chances during this period with Hnamte going for a curler at 97′ which was inches away from going into the top corner. Uruguayan midfielder Federico Gallego gave Liston Colaco a clean chance with a stunning delivery at the far post but Nikhil Poojary managed to deflect the ball from the path of Liston incredibly.

The game went to penalties after 120 minutes of football where it was Hyderabad FC who got the chance to take the first penalty. Golden Glove winner Vishal Kaith lined up for ATK Mohun Bagan and youngster Gurmeet Singh took the responsibility for the Nizams. Joao Victor took the first penalty kick of the game, followed by Petratos for ATK Mohun Bagan. However, the game’s trajectory changed when Kaith saved the second kick taken by young Spanish striker Javier Siverio. This critical save paved the way for the Mariners to secure the win.

Gallego gave the lead to his team, and when Bartholomew Ogbeche missed the penalty by hitting the inside of the post, it seemed that ATK Mohun Bagan might have just sealed the win. However both Manvir and Rohit Danu followed suit by finding the back of the net, and Australian Brendan Hamil missed the following chance to score, thus providing some hope to the Nizams. However it was too late, as with the last kick of the game, the captain of the Mariners, Pritam Kotal, found the net, sealing the deal with a 4-3 scoreline in favor of ATK Mohun Bagan.

Vishal Kaith was awarded Hero of the Match for his excellent display of courage during the 120 minutes and penalty kicks. Now, its a matter of time before we get to know who will eventually lift the ISL trophy on March 18th at the Fatorda Stadium, Goa.

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Rejin T Jays
Rejin T Jays
Kerala Blasters Supporter💛 and Indian Football Fan💙

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