KOKLKATA, Nov 17: Atletico de Kolkata drew 1-1 with NorthEast United FC in front of more than 12,000 fans at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium in Kolkata on Thursday. Nicolas Velez gave the Highlanders the lead in the fifth minute before Iain Hume equalised in the final minute of normal time. The draw saw ATK keep their spot in Hero Indian Super League�s top 4. With 11 points from 10 games, NorthEast also moved off the bottom of the table.
Kolkata went behind five minutes into the game after an alert Velez was on hand to collect a lapse pass on the edge of the box. The Argentine forward capitalised on the defensive lapse by Henrique Sereno and rounded Debjit Majumder in ATK�s goal before calmly slotting the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
The hosts tried to mount an immediate response with Lalrindika Ralte seeing plenty of the ball on the left flank. NorthEast, to their credit, kept their shape and made it difficult for ATK to break them down as Ralte registered his side�s first shot on target in the 25th minute. Helder Postiga went close to equalising two minutes later with a shot from the edge of the box that went inches wide of goal.
Sereno had Kolkata�s next effort on goal when a Javi Lara free-kick from the right found the Portuguese defender at the near post. He managed to keep his header on target but Subrata Paul was perfectly positioned in goal to make a comfortable save.
Stephen Pearson had a chance shortly after when a loose ball found its way to him just inside NorthEast�s penalty area. The Scotsman�s shot on goal though was again easily saved by Paul as the Highlanders went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
ATK�s first chance of the second half came in the 52nd minute as Lara attempted an audacious shot on goal directly from a corner. The Spaniard�s corner was goal-bound and had beaten Paul, however, Robin Gurung had placed himself perfectly at the far post to head-clear the danger.
Hume rescued a late point for ATK against NorthEast had a chance of doubling their lead in the 68th minute but Romaric�s shot from just outside ATK�s box went behind for a corner. Velez almost managed to score his second goal of the night from the resultant corner as he watched his shot cleared off the line.
They had another attempt on goal 18 minutes from full-time as Emiliano Alfaro headed a cross from the right at goal. However, his header was easily saved by Majumder to give his side a fighting chance in the closing stages of the match.
Kolkata finally got their equaliser in the last minute of regulation time. A Lara free-kick was headed across the face of goal and towards the far post for Hume to apply the finishing touch as it ended 1-1 at full-time with both sides sharing the spoils. � Agencies