KOLKATA: ATK and FC Goa played out an enthralling goalless draw at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Goa started the half as the better of the two sides and should have really scored two goals within the first 15 minutes. Seriton Fernandes was awarded the first real chance in the seventh minute when he was slipped through by Jackichand Singh. The right-back though failed to direct his shot on target and hit the side-netting.
A few minutes later, Goa had an even better chance when Ahmed Jahouh delivered an inch perfect ball to the far post. Mourtada Fall ghosted behind the defence to win a free header, however, he could only find the side-netting – a real let off for ATK.
The hosts then spurned a few good chances themselves. Santos, who was ATK’s most threatening player of the first period almost broke the deadlock near the half-hour mark. A delicious pass from Jayesh Rane across the face of goal was flicked on by the Brazilian attacker. But Goa custodian Mohammad Nawaz stood firm to make a good stop.
ATK wold come closest to scoring in the 36th minute through Lanzarote. After some neat build up play from Santos and Gerson Vieira, the ball fell to the Spaniard inside the box. He chested it down before firing a shot, which narrowly missed the far post. That would prove to be the last notable piece of action of an end-to-end goalless half.
ATK started the second half on a bright note and created a neat opening in the 54th minute. Santos and Lanzarote were once again in the thick of the action, carving open the Goa defence with their fine running. This time Lanzarote laid the ball off to Rane, who took one touch before forcing a good stop from Nawaz.
A few minutes after the hour-mark, drama ensued as Goa felt hard done by when they were not awarded a penalty. Substitute Manvir showed incredible control and composure to beat ATK’s offside trap before creating space for a shot a goal. His effort was blocked by Bikey before being cleared off the line by John Johnson. The ball seemed to have hit Bikey on the arm, but the referee waved play on.
As the match reached its end, chances were few and far between as both sides seemed to settle for a point. Goa did have a glorious opportunity in the final minute though when Ferran Corominas demonstrated determination and skill to beat two defenders before delivering a cross for Edu Bedia. The midfielder, however, failed to direct his shot on target as the ball ran out of play.