With the thrilling win, the Men of Steel piled on more misery on a frustrated ATKMB side and their porous backline, who suffered their consecutive loss after going down 1-5 against defending champions Mumbai City in their previous encounter.
The match saw it all – end-to-end action, good goals, solid defending, a goalline save, worthy calls for penalty turned down. In the end what mattered was Seiminlen Doungel (37′) and Alexandre Lima (84′) scored twice for Jamshedpur while Pritam Kotal (89′) found a consolation goal for ATKMB to reduce the margin for the Mariners.
Knowing the attacking prowess of ATK Mohun Bagan, Owen Coyle decided to keep things pretty tight at the back with his boys sitting deep to soak in the pressure put by the likes of Roy Krishna, Hugo Boumos and Joni Kauko in ATKMB’s attacking third.
While ATKMB started with a high pressing game, JFC relied more on counterattacks. With both midfields trying to get upper hand, the game offered a gripping end-to-end contest. Half-chances came at both ends but it was JFC who broke the deadlock through Doungel’s clinical strike in the 37th minute.
JFC midfielder Jitendra Singh, just out of his teens, left Boumos behind near the centre circle and had a brisk run before releasing the ball for Doungel on the right. The Mizo winger had a sublime first touch and shook the net at far corner with a scorching right-footer. Unfortunately, Doungel could only play for another couple of minutes before suffering an injury on his right foot which eventually got him substituted two minutes from half-time.
Meanwhile, just before the breather ATKMB got probably the best chance of the match but they missed. Kauko sent a ball for Krishna from just outside the box as the Fijian striker was running down the right near goalline.
JFC keeper Rehenesh failed to collect Krishna’s attempt properly and ball rolled through his legs before an alert Eli Sabia cleared it off the line to deny ATKMB the equaliser.
Tension flared after the break and frustration grew for the Kolkata giants who were unable to find the leveller despite the hard work outside the area. ATKMB were also denied a penalty by referee Rowan Arumughan when Sabia handled a ball inside box off a corner.
Then ten minutes from time, Kauko’s pass found substitute David Williams near the D and the striker’s shot was palmed away by Rehenesh.
As ATKMB’s search for the equalizer continued with a high pressing game, JFC sealed the deal with substitute Lima scoring within 20 seconds of coming on the pitch with his second touch of the game.
ATKMB were able to reduce the margin with a controversial goal moments from time as JFC players’ good call for offside were left unheard by the referee. But it might be looked at as some poetic justice to ATKMB for the penalty they were denied earlier by Arumughan.
With the win JFC jumped to the second spot on the table just behind leaders Mumbai, while ATKMB went out of top four with six points from four matches.