ISL 2018-19 Preseason: André Schürrle strike downs ATK in friendly with Fulham

The 2014 World Cup winner scored the only goal of the game as the Kolkata side became only the second ISL team to play a Premier League side....

Two-time Indian Super League (ISL) champions ATK were defeated 1-0 by Premier League outfit Fulham FC in a friendly game played at the Pinatar Arena in Murcia, Spain on Saturday.

André Schürrle (72') scored the only goal of the game as the Kolkata side lost their first pre-season friendly. 

Fulham, who utilised the current international break to train in Spain became the second Premier League side to lock horns with an ISL team after West Bromwich Albion defeated Delhi Dynamos by a similar margin in 2016.

ATK, who were already in Spain for a three-week long camp came into the game on the back of two wins. Head coach Steve Coppell set the team in a familiar 4-2-3-1 formation.

ATK Fulham

A back-four of Aiborlang Khongjee, Andre Bikey, John Johnson and Sena Ralte shielded second-choice custodian Arindam Bhattacharya between the sticks. 

Gerson Vieira and Malsawmzuala featured in the double-pivot role while Nigerian striker Kalu Uche was supported by the trio of Everton Santos, Manuel Lanzarote and teenage sensation Komal Thatal.

The American-Pakistani businessman Shahid Khan-owned team, who are currently 13th on the Premier League table with only a single win from four outings had summer signings Fabri, Maxime Le Marchand, Alfie Mawson and Joe Bryan all start.

Calum Chambers and Luciano Vietto, loan-ins from Arsenal and Atletico de Madrid respectively also featured from the beginning.

ATK Fulham

The Slaviša Jokanović-coached side dominated proceedings as Vietto, Le Marchand and Floyd Ayite all failed to capitalise on clear chances. Kalu Uche made a meal of an opportunity for the ISL side early on.

Aboubakar Kamara went past Johnson in the 44th minute despite attempts to pull the Frenchman down but his shot was saved by Arindam as the game ended goalless in the first half.

Tyrese Francois and Schürrle were brought in at the hour mark as Jayesh Rane too made his way into the game. Sheikh Faiaz, Cavin Lobo, Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Balwant Singh were introduced to freshen up things for ATK.

Arindam was constantly tested by the Londoners but he put on a solid display as he denied Harvey Elliott twice in two minutes. However, his resistance was broken as he could do very little when the former Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea man sent in a powerful shot into the top right-hand corner of the net.

ATK Fulham

Schürrle, who provided Mario Götze with the assist to score the World Cup winning goal for Germany a little more than four years ago proved to be the difference between the sides.

Fulham next play title-holders Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on 15 September before entertaining Watford at Craven Cottage once the Premier League resumes.

ATK are scheduled to fly back to India after 16 September as they feature in the opening game of season five - a home tie against Kerala Blasters on 29 September.

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