Durand Cup: ATK held to a 1-1 draw by Indian Navy
Kolkata: Two-time Indian Super League champions ATK were held to a 1-1 draw by the Indian Navy in a Durand Cup fixture here on Monday.
In the 19th minute of the match, Harikrishna AU netted a goal to give the Navy an early lead. ATK tried hard but the scoreboard flashed 1-0 in favour of the Navy till half-time.
Avilash Paul, ATK's goalkeeper, made some great saves and tried to restrict the Navy from taking a further lead. In the 88th minute, an unintentional handball in the box resulted in a penalty in favour of ATK and captain Prabir Das made full use of the penalty to level the score. The day saw two armed forces teams engaging in a draw on separate occasions at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan. Coincidentally both Army Red and Navy conceded a penalty towards the fag end and let the respective match slip away. ATK will be playing against Mohun Bagan at the latter's home ground on August 8 while the Navy too will play at Mohun Bagan ground against Mohameddan Sporting on August 10.
Meanwhile, Bengaluru FC came back from a goal down to play out a thrilling 1-1 draw with Army Red in their Durand Cup opener at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Monday.
New signing Suresh Wangjam (81st) netted from the penalty spot late in the second half to cancel Liton Shil's (45+4') opener for Army Red. The point meant Bengaluru FC moved up to second on the table behind leaders East Bengal (3 points) and ahead of Army Red (1 point) in Group A.
Naushad Moosa opted to start all of his seven first-team players with Aditya Patra in goal, Gursimrat Singh Gill, Sairuat Kima and Parag Shrivas in defence, Ajay Chhetri and Wangjam in the midfield and Edmund Lalrindika leading the attack. In what turned out to be a game of equal exchanges, it was the Blue Colts who dominated the majority of the proceedings in the first half. After a couple of close chances that fell for striker Lalrindika in the opening quarter, the Blues almost took the lead in the 22nd minute. Medio Biswa Darjee unleashed a powerful left-footer from 25 yards out which came off the crossbar after a spell of dominant play in the rival half. With the Blue Colts controlling possession for longer periods, the Army Red side banked on frequent counter attacks. Patra pulled off a wonderful save when he denied rival skipper Suresh Meitei from point blank range in the 38th minute when the Army man was left unmarked in the BFC box. Despite their dominance, the Blue Colts conceded right at the stroke of half time when attacker Shil struck in the fourth minute of injury time. Defender Sunil B created space on the left flank, before sending in a low cross into the box to find Shil who scored on the slide, past a helpless Patra. Being a goal down, Moosa made his first change sending on midfielder Emanuel L in place of Chhetri as he looked to add more attacking threat. While both sides continued to attack either goal fiercely, it was Bengaluru who finally pulled level in the 81st minute. Defender Namgyal Bhutia was brought down in the rival box by substitute Alwin E and the referee pointed to the spot. Wangjam stepped up and calmly slotted the spot kick home to level scores in what was his first appearance in a Blue shirt.
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