ATK defeated Bengaluru FC 1-0 in a hard-fought Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Christmas evening.
David Williams's (47') strike in the second half was enough to hand Bengaluru their first defeat in Kolkata in the history of the competition.
ATK coach Antonio Habas made three changes to the side that drew 2-2 against Hyderabad FC. Prabir Das, Michael Soosairaj and Jayesh Rane made their way into the starting XI replacing Salam Ranjan Singh, Jobby Justin and Sehnaj Singh.
Carles Cuadrat made only a single alteration to the side with Raphael Augusto getting the nod ahead of Ashique Kuruniyan. Bengaluru also started with three defenders at the back.
The home team started the game well and could have drawn first blood in the second minute of the match when Roy Krishna latched on to a brilliantly lobbed ball from David Williams. But much to the dismay of ATK fans, the Fijian could not keep his shot on target from a one-on-one scenario.
In the 18th minute, David Williams outfoxed Albert Serran and produced an excellent through ball for Rane but the Indian midfielder was slow to react.
Habas' men continued to dominate proceedings and the visitors were finding it hard to create significant goal-scoring opportunities. Dimas Delgado had an opportunity to put his team ahead but the Spaniard could not test Arindam Bhattacharjee in goal with a free-kick from 25 yards out.
ATK were finally rewarded for their persistence when Williams found the net just after the play resumed for the second half. Krishna put in a through ball which Bheke intercepted but the loose ball fell for Rane. The midfielder set Williams up and the former Wellington Phoenix striker struck a terrific strike from the edge of the box to beat Gurpreet.
Bengaluru came close to scoring a leveller at the hour mark when a miscued clearance of Augustin fell for Delgado, but the Spaniard hit wide with the entire goal at his mercy. Cuadrat brought on Kuruniyan and Thongkhosiem Haokip from the bench to change the dynamics of the match, but the substitutes were not able to deliver what was expected of them.
The reigning champions poured men forward to salvage a point but fell short of breaking down ATK's resolute defence.
With a win, ATK have moved to the top spot with 18 points and will return to action against Mumbai City on January 4, 2020.