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ATK v Bengaluru

Miku’s quality comes to the fore once again

08:03 GMT+4 01/11/2018
ATK Bengaluru FC Miku
The Venezuelan striker’s strike at the stroke of half-time was a crucial factor in Bengaluru FC’s comeback win…

Carles Cuadrat in the aftermath of their 2-1 win over ATK was quick to point that Miku’s equaliser at the stroke of half-time made the difference.

“Miku’s goal was very, very important. The brilliant technicality of our player made for a great moment,” said the Spaniard.

After ATK took the lead through Komal Thatal’s brilliant strike which left both Nishu Kumar and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu with their mouth wide open in surprise, the home side defended in numbers. The only real opportunity created was when Nishu crossed the ball for Miku and his header was directed straight at Arindam Bhattacharya in goal.

Apart from that, the visitors hardly created a chance of note despite seeing more of the ball. Udanta Singh’s poor run of form continued while Sunil Chhetri, who dropped deep in order to influence the game, didn’t pose a threat.

Miku won the free-kick thanks to his brilliant movement which left Gerson Vieira dumbfounded. Bengaluru FC’s two most technical and intelligent players, namely Miku and Dimas Delgado presided over the set-piece and it was the former’s dipping effort which nestled into the net.

The former Celtic forward now has scored 13 goals in 12 away matches in the ISL - a record in itself. This highlights how effective he is when the team is away from the comforts of playing at the Kanteerava Stadium. 

It was this goal and Kalu Uche’s injury which so to say deflated ATK’s plan.

It took less than two minutes for Bengaluru FC after half-time to spring ahead with a well-taken goal by Erik Paartalu.

Steve Coppell’s side didn’t ask questions of Bengaluru FC defence as in the absence of Uche, they didn’t have a proper number nine who could hold the ball and bring his team-mates into play.

Noussair El Maimouni, who came on as a substitute, filled in as a defensive midfielder but hardly made any impact whatsoever. The 27-year-old Moroccan struggled against the likes of Delgado and even Harmanjot Khabra.

What would concern the English coach is that his team cannot keep a clean sheet. One of the hallmarks of Coppell’s teams is their defensive solidity. However, in this case, they neither have a good custodian in place nor are they able to absorb the pressure put in by the opposition.

Their next game is against FC Pune City, a side placed in the bottom half of the table, but who have one of the most lethal strike duos in the ISL in Emiliano Alfaro and Marcelinho.

ATK need to be more compact if they are to win any points in the upcoming matches.