This was a comeback match for ATK too, as the first time winner of ISL lost the inaugural match of this season to Kerala Blaster 1-2 in Kochi.
David Williams found the target twice in the first half while Roy Krishna struck once as the host led 3-0 in the first half. Second half Replacement Edu Garcia scored twice towards the end to secure the biggest win for ATK in the competition. ATK’s last big win was a 4-0 win against FC Goa at the same venue in 2015.
ATK started exploiting the gaps in the Hyderabad defense to fashion the big win. The host found the lead in the 24th minute when Williams reached a Javi Hernandez through-pass and slotted it past the opposition goalkeeper Kamajit Singh. With a continuous drizzle during the match, ATK used the conditions well, launching swift raids that unsettled a struggling Hyderabad defense. Roy Krishna scored second goal from a long-ranger. The ball hit the post before crossing goal line. Williams made 3-0 before break. It was from a similar situation as compared to first goal. He beat the offside trap, laid by Hyderabad FC defender to get one-to-one with opponent goalie and then pushed the ball through his extended legs.
Edu Garcia, who replaced Xavi Hernandez after break join the party three minutes to end the regular time. He placed the ball from five yards from a pass from Prabir Das at right flank. He scored his second and ATk’s fifth goal during injury time through a header.
There was lot of discussion about Roy Krishna and David Williams who played for Wellington Phoenix FC together in A-league last season. They operated in tandem and considered as deadly duo. It created a lot of buzz before Indian Super League started this season.
Roy Krishna was golden boot winner in A-league last season with 18 goals and David Williams, not to be left far behind and registered 11 goals by his name. So there were great expectation against Kerala Blaster in Indian Super League opener this season. It was a big setback when ATK lost in the inaugural match 1-2. But they clearly made up for lost chances in the previous match and put ATK 3-0 up against new outfit by half time.
Michael Soosairaj, who came in Kolkata side with recommendation from Sanjay Sen, the assistant coach, had great runs down left flank. Every time he did so created scoring chances and greeted with cheering home crowd. ATK manager Habas was no exception. Although he is not one to talk about individual players, Habas did praise Indian winger Michael Soosairaj, who played at an unusual left wing-back role, against Kerala Blasters and Hyderabad.
“Soosairaj is a very promising player with great technical and physical abilities. He is one for the future and will be useful for the national side. I don’t like to talk about Indian and foreign players. It is a 24 member team and everybody did really well.”