ATK Mohun Bagan boss Juan Ferrando was delighted with his team’s performance in the 4-0 win over Bashundhara Kings in a AFC Cup Group D match on Saturday. After suffering a humiliating 4-2 defeat to I-League champions Gokulam Kerala FC in their opening match, the Mariners desperately needed a victory to stay alive in the competition. Liston Colaco was the star performer of the day as he netted a hat-trick while substitute David Williams scored once to complete the drubbing. The result helped the Indian Super League (ISL) outfit to move to the top of the table, while GKFC’s 1-0 defeat to Maziya S&RC means that all four teams have three points after two rounds of games.
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Ferrando made some changes, both in the lineup and gameplan for the match against the Bangladeshi club. Centre-back Sandesh Jhingan came into the lineup in place of Tiri, who had suffered an ACL injury in the previous match. Carl McHugh and Deepak Tangri replaced David Wiliams and Lenny Rodrigues respectively in the starting eleven. Roy Krishna was deployed as the striker with Liston and Manvir Occupying the flanks. Joni Kauko was given an attacking midfielders role with McHugh and Tangri sitting in front of the back four.
The tactics were pretty simple and effective. Krishna often dropped deep, drawing defenders with him, creating space for Liston and Manvir, and Kauko would deliver quality attacking passes to release them into promising positions. It was a complete team performance from the Mariners as the forwards were clinical, midfielders controlled the game and an all-Indian back four was disciplined.
When asked about ATKMB’s performance in the first game and the performance against the Kings, Ferrando said: “I think it was a very difficult game. The team enjoyed the space they had. I think in the last match, our emotions in the second half were not so good. The players today worked like a team. They supported each other. This is more important for me. The supporters were great, They stayed back and supported us. Even after the storm, they stayed in the stands. It’s fantastic. It made me think that this is our moment.”
Bashundhara Kings had defeated Maziya FC 1-0 in their previous match, but the BPL champions failed to pose any serious threat at ATKMB’s goal. The Kings registered four shots on target and ATKMB goalkeeper Anwer Shaikh, who had come in place of India international Amrinder Singh, did a fine job to earn a clean sheet in his debut AFC Cup match. Meanwhile the Mariners opened the scoring mid-way through the first half when Liston capitalised on a defensive error to slot home from 12 yards. Few minutes later, the 23-year-old made the score 2-0 and from then on, the home side dominated the proceedings.
After the break, Liston completed his hat-trick from Manvir’s assist before Williams scored the fourth goal of the night for ATKMB. The Spanish coach added: “Bashundhara Kings are a good team and they have good players. I’m happy that supporters enjoyed the match today. The break was good for us as the team wasn’t doing well in the first ten minutes. I think after 2-0, the team played well. I’m happy because these players read a lot of negative comments in the last two days. I’m happy for them for this result because they are good players, a good team and good persons.”