KOLKATA, Oct 13 - Atletico de Kolkata proved to be the better side against Kerala Blasters in a Hero Indian Super League season 2 match at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Tuesday. Goals by Arata Izumi and Javier Lara Grande were enough for the home side to pick up full points to go to the top of the points table. Chris Dagnall reduced the margin for Kerala as the match ended 2-1.
The game began in a rousing note in front of a 60,000 strong spectators with Kerala Blasters producing two good moves before Atletico de Kolkata made their first meaningful raid to the thunderous applause of the home crowd. The resultant long-ranger from midfielder Jaime Gavilan Martinez rocked the bar.
The opening scrimmage set the tone of the match. Out of the blue, ATK struck with deadly effect as a long pass found Iain Hume slamming a right-footer into the Kerala custodian Stephen Bywater�s chest. As the deep defender Gurwinder Singh shaped to clear the rebound, ATK�s midfielder Arata Izumi pounced on the chance to shoot home. In the ensuing clash, Gurwinder injured his ankle and was stretchered off.
The success infused enough confidence into ATK players who saw the ball more with good positional play and quick-silver moves. In a way the home side dominated play giving little chance to Kerala to mount raids for most part of the half.
When the game moved into the final ten minutes of the opening half, Mehtab Hossain thundered a 30-yard long-ranger that brought out the best of ATK goalkeeper Juan Sanchez. As the game neared the end of the first session, ATK defence was found wanting. Kerala�s Rahul Bheke overlapped, outpacing N Mohanraj, before placing a measured low cross past a beaten ATK defence. With only Sanchez to be taken care of, Chris Dagnall failed to reach the ball on time as it rolled tantalizingly across the ATK goal.
ATK continued to have the upper hand and even got their second goal through a brilliant effort of Javier Lara Grande seven minutes after the resumption. Taking possession of a Hume back pass, Grande weaved past two Kerala defenders before shooting home an angular low shot that went off a defender�s leg.
Dagnall made amends to his earlier miss with a fine tap in the 80th minute to reduce the margin. Late charge by the visiting side did not yield further success. In the final minutes Kerala�s playmaker Hossain was booked for the second time and was sent off.