Atletico de Kolkata see off late Kerala Blasters onslaught to go top

Atletico de Kolkata goes top of the Indian Super League (ISL) table after an impressive performance against Kerala Blasters where goals from Arata Izumi and Javi Lara sealed a 2-1 win for the defending champions.

Over 62,000 passionate fans came forward to see this anticipating match at Real Salt Lake, Kolkata. Among them there was a certain footballing legend by the name of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, simply known as ‘Pele’. The Brazilian legend came all the way from South America to witness this match where he gladly met some of the big names of Indian football.

It was evident that both the teams would miss their star players due to National duties. There was no big change from both the gaffers as they fielded their best possible eleven.

With the Foreign trio of Dagnall, Josu and Watt in front, Peter Taylor had definitely showed the intent to win this match.

Although it was the host who almost took the lead on fifth minute as Javi Lara’s smashing effort on goal rattled the crossbar, with that effort Real Salt Lake almost got erupted.

Just a minute later, the faithful of Atletico de Kolkata did erupted in jubilant scenes when Arata Izumi’s beautiful tap in gave the host an important lead over the Blasters.

Kerala Blaster’s goalkeeper Bywater parried Iain Hume’s initial shot but Izumi was there to tap the ball home on the rebound.

The visitor kept more ball possession than the host in the first half but didn’t created enough chances to threaten Atletico de Kolkata’s defence.

Atletico de Kolkata took complete control of the match after the opener and made it difficult for the Blasters to get on the ball. Borja Fernandez almost doubled their lead at the half-hour mark when his dipping volley from 30 yards almost sneaked into Kerala’s goal.

Few minutes later. Sanchez Watt’s effort from just outside the box was Kerala’s first shot on target which was eventually saved by Catalayud, comfortably.

The first half was much of a game where both the teams were trying to settle down, Arata Izumi’s goal was the difference in the first 45 minutes.

Kerala Blasters gaffer Peter Taylor decided to freshen things up at the half-time when he brought on Victor Pulga to replace Josu Currias in midfield.

Not long after that Javi Lara ran through Kerala’s defence going past Bruno Perone as if he wasn’t there to double the host’s lead in the 53rd minute and score the 25th goal of Indian Super League 2015.

Javi’s shot into the far corner was just enough to beat Bywaters to increase their lead to two goals.

With clock ticking, Kerala Blasters finally made their presence fell when Chris Dagnall poked the ball over the line to cut short the deficit to one goal and certainly increased the pressure on Atletico de Kolkata.

Two minutes later Kerala Blasters almost scored the equalizer when Sanchez Watt’s shot on goal was tipped over the bar by Catalayud.

On 89th minute Kerala Blaster’s Mehtab Hossain was dismissed as the Referee showed him the second yellow card of his night after his tackle to substitute Valdo.

Kerala could still have equalized despite being a man down in the four minutes of additional time as they threw everything but the kitchen sink at Atletico’s goal. Goalkeeper Calatayud though stood firm and safely negotiated two efforts from Dagnall and a long range shot from C.K Vineeth to send his side to the top of the Indian Super league.
Javi Lara for his impressive performance earned him a ‘Hero Man of the Match’ award.

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