ATK Mohun Bagan moved back up into third place with a 2-0 victory over Odisha FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday.
Dimitri Petratos bagged a brace to end the Mariners' two-game goalless spell. The loss, combined with Bengaluru FC's win earlier in the day, dropped Odisha FC out of the playoff spots with a game in hand.
The wait for the opening goal of the match was not long as Petratos put ATK Mohun Bagan in front after just three minutes. Manvir Singh's cross was deflected by Osama Malik before Hugo Boumous' clever pass guided the ball straight to Petratos, who slotted it home.
The initial attacks for the Mariners came down the right flank as they came very close to doubling their lead just two minutes after the opener. This time, Manvir opted to go for goal himself instead of crossing it in. The low shot was straight at Amrinder Singh, who got his gloves behind it.,
In the 15th minute, Vishal Kaith's misfired first touch after Boumous' back pass almost allowed Saul Crespo to tap the ball into the net. But the keeper did enough to deny the midfielder at the crucial moment.
The possession was evenly distributed between the two sides in the first half. However, Odisha FC managed to put just one shot on target in 45 minutes. That effort came in the form of a tame shot via Nandhakumar Sekar in the 37th minute, and it was saved comfortably by Kaith.
ATK Mohun Bagan started the second half exactly like they started the first - on the front foot. Two minutes in, Ashique Kuruniyan waltzed into the box from the left flank, but his eventual shot was wayward. At the other end, Odisha FC failed to keep yet another attempt on target as Carlos Delgado's optimistic effort from range went sailing over the bar.
In an extremely cagey affair, the hosts had to wait till the 80th minute for their second goal. With a beautifully executed move, Boumous picked Asish Rai on the right flank. Completely unmarked, the right-back galloped into the box before playing a low ball across the face of goal, which was tapped in by Petratos.
Liston Colaco almost made it 3-0 five minutes from time, but the upright denied the substitute his second goal of the season. Odisha FC were ineffective in the final third as they finished the game with just one effort on target. The game came to a bittersweet end for ATK Mohun Bagan after Ashique was sent off in the final minute of stoppage time for an off-the-ball offence.
The win lifted ATK Mohun Bagan from fifth to third. However, the Mariners could drop to fourth if Kerala Blasters win their game against NorthEast United FC on Sunday. Odisha FC dropped out of the playoff spots and are now seventh, level on points with Bengaluru FC, with a game in hand. Next week, the battle for playoff spots will intensify as ATK Mohun Bagan will host Bengaluru FC on February 5, and Odisha FC will visit Chennaiyin FC on February 2. (ANI)