Atlético de Kolkata remain top of the league table after a convincing display against NorthEast United FC, winning by a 2-0 margin. Fikru Teferra Lemessa in the fifteenth minute and Jakob Podaný in second-half injury time gave the away side their second consecutive win of the tournament.
The visitors took control of the match from the get-go and looked full of confidence after their opening day win. Borja Fernández was at it again as he spotted opposition goalkeeper Alexandros Tsorvas off his line and attempted to lob him from just inside the half-line, but Tzorvas managed to back-pedal in time to deny what would have been a fantastic goal. Kolkata attacked in waves and caused problems to the home side’s backline, but the Greek goalkeeper continued his good run from the previous game and thwarted the attack brilliantly.
Tzorvas was, however, finally beaten by an excellent bit of skill by Luis García, who lobbed the ball over the defence for striker Fikru to control beautifully with his chest and smash it home. Kolkata continued to pile on the pressure after the goal, but were unable to double their lead as the Highlanders began to slowly get into the game towards the end of the first half.
NorthEast came out with purpose after the break, as they pushed for an equaliser. Skipper Joan Capdevila had the ball in the net in the 70th minute, but the goal was rightly ruled out for offside.
There was a twist late in the game, as Borja picked up a second yellow for pulling back NorthEast substitute Leo Bertos, and was sent off with six minutes left to play. But ten-men Atlético de Kolkata stood firm, and even went on to score a second goal to seal the game, a stoppage-time goal from substitute Jakub Podaný.
Herbert will have a lot to ponder after the missed chances and will want to put on a better show at home against FC Goa on October 19, while Atlético de Kolkata will look to keep their fine form going against Delhi Dynamos FC on the same day.