Navi Mumbai: ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) put five goals past the Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC) to finish third in the Reliance Foundation Developmental League (RFDL) football competition here on Sunday.
The game was locked 1-1 till the hour mark but a dominant final quarter from the Mariners saw them finish off their campaign in style.
Kiyan Nassiri Giri, ATKMB’s star forward, opened the scoring with a deft finish in the 18th minute. Kiyan, 22, has 29 appearances in the Indian Super League (ISL) for his club and that experience is reflected in the way he held on to the defenders and made space to bag the first goal of the morning.
However, RFYC responded immediately courtesy of a powerful shot by forward Sanan Mohammed K. in the 26th minute. The two teams kept pushing for a final breakthrough thereafter but it was the Kolkata-based team’s Brijesh Giri who finally managed to regain the lead for his team and swung the momentum of the match in their favour.
ATKMB maintained a complete stronghold over the proceedings post that goal as forward Uttam Hansda came off the bench to tap in a low cross from the right flank to notch the third goal for his team.
RFYC kept pushing to reduce the deficit but to no avail, as the visitors carved open their backline both through the centre as well as from the wings and retained possession for the majority of the final 20 minutes or so.
That period of dominance culminated in defenders Dippendu Biswas and Amandeep netting once each in the 89th minute and in the added time respectively to cap off a five-star performance for their team.
“The players had a good background. They were focused and they accepted, understood and wanted this concept of attacking football. If you saw the two games we drew against East Bengal, the amount of chances that we generated was amazing. The other day we also generated more chances than the opponent. I am quite happy that the goals arrived today!” ATKMB coach Josep Maria Roma Gibert hailed the attitude of his boys in the aftermath of this clinical and comprehensive victory.
RFYC coach Arata Izumi acknowledged that he will take the learnings from the National Championship of RFDL to get past the final hurdle next season. RFYC were unbeaten before this stage of the tournament and Izumi has taken away abundant learning from their losses in the last two games.
“Every single game is an opportunity for us to develop ourselves. I think the boys stepped up quite a lot. In terms of today’s game, this is where we are at this moment, especially mentally and physically. Of course, they can still learn, these guys are just 17-18 and some are 19. So, they have enough time to develop themselves on all fronts,” Izumi mentioned.
“We have proved that we can play, against this competition so that is something we can take pride and we have to make sure that we improve on all aspects so that next time when we come, we are more competitive to be in this semifinals and the finals,” he signed off.