For the first time in the Indian Super League (ISL), ATK are struggling. From being one of the highest spenders, the Sourav Ganguly co-owned team have failed to impress.
On Sunday, Bengaluru FC edged past ATK to go top of the table. But in coach Albert Roca’s words, it wasn’t the best version of Bengaluru either. They too gave away the ball cheaply on a number of occasions with Rahul Bheke and Erik Paartalu being the culprits, Gurpeet Sandhu also flapped at a cross and gave the opposition a needless chance to score.
However, ATK couldn’t capitalize on Bengaluru’s mistakes. On the other hand, the Bangalore-based outfit did well to convert from Conor Thomas’ square pass to Sunil Chhetri. The 33-year-old striker took a touch and slammed the ball into the far corner giving Debjit Majumder no chance whatsoever.
While one may point that the home side did have a few more opportunities, particularly towards the end through Braulio Nobrega, it was some last ditch defending from ATK which prevented them from suffering a bigger loss.
It wouldn’t be unfair to state that ATK look a disjointed unit, with no clear style of play and the players opting to rely on Robbie Keane’s brilliance than carving out opportunities. Injuries haven’t helped but as a squad, they do not have a standout performer.
The reigning champions were sloppy in their passing and failed to keep a check on Chhetri when Roca decided to move him on the right flank midway through the first half.
For Bengaluru, it was a welcome win on home soil after two defeats on the bounce.
One has got to point that Bengaluru FC’s success in their very first year in the ISL also suggests how well prepared they are. They have made the switch from the I-League to the ISL and there hasn’t been much difference in their fortunes as they continue to be a top side.
Despite the fact that they haven’t produced their A-game for quite some-time, they are odds-on favourites to book a place in the ISL play-offs.
What does it suggest about the quality on offer in rest of the teams?