ATKMB began their campaign with an unconvincing win over the Kerala Blasters at the GMC stadium in Goa. The Tuskers were overall the better team but some abysmal finishing led to their demise.
Kerala Blasters had lined up in a classic 4-3-3 style with the full backs joining in the attacks. Habas chose his preferred 3-5-2 formation with Edu Garcia as Roy Krishna’s strike partner. ATKMB were setup as a counter attacking team and often looked to play long balls for Krishna to latch on to.
The 1st chance came in the 17th minute when Roy Krishna’s shot was blocked by Nhamoinesu. He also had a couple of other opportunities but missed both of them. Kerala’s 1st chance came in the 36th minute when Ritwik Das scuffed his shot from point blank range.
In the 79th minute Edu Garcia’s fierce volley just curled away from Albino’s far post and from the resulting goal kick Samad found himself with the ball in the box and again he sliced his volley above the crossbar. Kerala continued to attack for the last 10 minutes but found no way past the stubborn ATKMB defence.
In the 50th minute a dangerous cross found it’s way to Sahal Samad who sliced his shot from the right side of the penalty box. Kerala had really taken the game to ATKMB and somehow 2 dangerous crosses were cleared by the mariners’ defence.
The breakthrough finally came in the 66th minute when due to some lack of co-ordination in the Kerala defence Roy Krishna chested down the ball and drilled in a left footed volley past Albino Gomes.
It was ATKMBs first win as a merged entity and they look set to win many more. Coach Kibu Vicuna will now need to focus on improving his team’s finishing as the rest of the play was quite good. Upnext for Kerala is a match against the Highlanders on thursday the 26th.