Next Gen Cup: ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC play out a goalless draw

ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC played out a goalless draw in their last group stage fixture of the Reliance Foundation presents Premier League Next Generation Cup at Navi Mumbai today.

Both teams came into this game on the back of defeats to Stellenbosch FC and West Ham United in their respective previous games.

They had faced off against each other in the semi-finals of the Reliance Foundation Development League (RFDL) earlier this month. The greater familiarity between the two teams is reflected in the cautious approach that both of them adopted in taking the game onto each other.

The two sides created ample goal-scoring opportunities. Bengaluru were within touching distance of breaking the deadlock in the first half, but some resilient defending from the Mariners but the scoreline was not troubled. The strength of both the teams was partially depleted when Lalrinliana Hnamte from ATK Mohun Bagan and Harmanpreet Singh from the Blues were sent off in a quick turn of events as the half-time whistle neared.

Both the teams took onto the field whilst being a player short in the second half and that perhaps further affected their ability to put the ball into the back of the net. Bengaluru end the tournament without opening their account whereas the Mariners have a point to their name after three games courtesy of their 1-1 draw to West Ham United in their opening match of the season.

“We wanted to win. The game was good but we had planned for winning, not for the draw. The draw keeps us at the bottom of the table. We didn’t want to draw. But the result has come and we can’t help it,” Bengaluru FC coach Kaizad Ambapardiwalla said after the game. 

Players in action during league matches of the Next Generation 2023 Cup between ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC played at Reliance corporate park at Ghansoli, in Navi Mumbai on 23rd May 2023 Photo: Ankur Salvi / Focus Sports/ NGPL

“We know each other. We played well. It’s not about knowing each other. It’s about working on our own plans and that is important. Both teams worked on their part. Both the teams got chances to score but we couldn’t score,” he further added.

“We never anticipated a draw. We always imagined in our minds that we are going to succeed and that we will win the match and we were very close to that today,” ATK Mohun Bagan coach Josep Maria Roma Gibert explained.

“We don’t have to be afraid of anybody. The game is about 11 vs 11. There are 22 legs and it’s nothing different. Somebody can be faster, somebody can jump higher, somebody can be better with the ball but at the end, it’s 11 vs 11 and today we proved ourselves that we are more comfortable if we press high,” the Spaniard signed off.

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