Match Report: Delhi Dynamos 1-2 ATK
ATK picked up their first win of the season when they beat Delhi Dynamos 2-1 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Wednesday. Balwant Singh had put the away side in front in the first half but Dynamos captain Pritam Kotal managed to find an equaliser. However, second-half substitute Noussair El Maimouni had other ideas. The ATK midfielder, substituting Kalu Uche in the 82nd minute, took just two minutes to score the all-important winner.
Coppell had made three changes to the side that lost against NorthEast United as Kalu Uche, Ricky Lallawmawma and the young Komal Thatal made it to the starting XI. The changes had an immediate impact as ATK started the match well, with the likes of Manuel Lanzarote and Uche heavily involved in the game. Thatal, starting his first match in the ISL, was also impressive, making runs, beating defenders, and sending beatufiul crosses.
Lanzarote, who was deployed just behind the striker, was back to his very best. He was picking out teammates for fun, mixing up passes and often, creating spaces. It was one such chipped pass to Balwant on the left flank that produced the opening goal. The exquisite pass allowed Balwant to get in behind the defence who then beat Kotal before unleashing a peach of a finish to beat Francisco Dorronsoro.
Apart from Lanzarote and Uche, Pronay Halder and Everton Santos, who were paired up in central midfield, were superb through the game. Even as the game progressed, Delhi weren't able to create any solid chances whatsoever.
In the second half, though, the home team came out with a sense of determination, constantly attacking and forcing a series of corners from the outset. It was from one such corner that Rana Gharami was allowed to head across goal from the far post. Kotal saw the opportunity and dashed in to glance the offering in from point-blank range.
Taken aback by the equaliser, ATK struggled to get a grip on the game and Delhi piled on. If it wasn't for Arindam Bhattacharya, the Kolkata side would have conceded but the custodian made a couple of terrific saves to keep his team in the contest.
Then, it was down to Coppell, who has shown time and time again that he is an exceptional reader of the game. The English gaffer saw that Delhi were leaving spaces behind as they attacked and decided to send on Jayesh Rane and Noussair El Maimouni. The fresh legs made a difference as during a counter attack, Lanzarote sent Rane clear down the right who, after surging into the box, laid it off for Maimouni to sweep an accurate finish in.
ATK: Arindam Bhattacharya, Aiborlang Khongjee, John Johnson, Gerson Viera, Ricky Lallawmawma, Everton Santos, Pronay Halder, Komal Thatal (Jayesh Rane 70'), Manuel Lanzarote (Andre Bikey 89'), Balwant Singh, Kalu Uche (Noussair El Mainouni 81')
Subs not used: Debjit Majumder, Ankit, Hitesh, Cavin Lobo
Delhi Dynamos: Dorronsoro, Pritam Kotal (Manchong 87'), Rana Gharami, Marti Crespi, Narayan Das, Vinit Rai, Rene Mihelic, Shubham Sarangi (Adria Carmona 61'), Nandha Kumar (Romeo Fernandes 66'), Andrija, Chhangte
Subs not used: Albino Gomes, Sajid Dhot, Siam Hanghal, Pradeep Mohanraj
ATK will take on Jamshedpur FC on 21st October, 2018 at the JRD Tata Sports Complex.