ATK Mohun Bagan were dead set to head for the second leg with a lead but NorthEast United negated the notion by equalizing in the final moments of the match which concluded in a 1-all tie at the GMC Stadium.
Idrissa Sylla saves NorthEast from a loss in the first leg
The match started with ATK Mohun Bagan taking the aggressive approach, with multiple attempts to take the first lead. However, the first half an hour of play became a target attempt session as neither sides were able to find the back of the net.
However, in the 34th minute, it was David Williams who scored the first goal of the night. The Aussie striker received the ball at the edge of the NorthEast box from Roy Krishna, and after faking a shot to get past his marker, Williams blasted the ball into the net with a left-footed strike.
Dropping behind, NorthEast made several attempts to get back into the game, and their best chance came during the added minutes of the first half as Ashutosh Mehta’s header struck the bar.
The second half progressed with multiple back and forth between the contenders but as the end of the play was approaching, it was looking to be ATK’s night to get one up on their adversaries before the 2nd leg.
Remarkably, Sylla came to the rescue for the trailing side that too in the 93rd minute. NorthEast’s Guinean striker, who was subbed in for Benjamin Lambot in the 66th minute, jumped high to receive Machado’s swerving volley, beating Arindam Bhattacharya as the scores leveled with moments before the final whistle.
“We are a bit disappointed. We are now disappointed two games in a row,” said ATK’s goalscorer Williams after the match, “I thought we were bouncing back (from the losses.). We need to talk together, stay positive recover and do well in the next game.”
With a one-goal aggregate each, the second leg will take place on Tuesday, 9th March at the Fatorda Stadium.
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