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ISL 2022: Ruthless ATK Mohun Bagan thrash Kerala Blasters 4-2

By Express News Service

GOA: These are still very early days but Kerala Blasters were handed a reality check by last season’s runner-up ATK Mohun Bagan as they were thrashed 4-2 in the opening game of the new Indian Super League season at the PJN Stadium in Fatorda on Friday.

The man who dismantled Blasters was Hugo Boumous who had made the big-money move from Mumbai City FC at the end of last season.

And it looks like the French-Moroccan footballer could be the missing piece for Bagan to go one step further this season and give Antonio Habas another ISL crown and get that elusive Champions League football. As for Blasters, there are more questions than answers after being thoroughly outplayed by the Mariners.

A new look squad coached by new head coach Ivan Vukomanovic had an extended pre-season but it was Bagan who took charge of the game right from the start. The big question was over their preparedness for the new season without having played a lot of pre-season games. But any doubts about their preparedness were dispelled with a clinical performance. 

The riot began early when Boumous, who was floating down the left flank, whipped in a cross into the box in a bid to pick out a teammate. The ball missed everyone including Blasters goalkeeper Albino Gomes, who was wrong-footed, as the ball bounced into the net.

Kerala was left trailing as early as the second minute. They managed to claw their way back into the game thanks to a brilliant goal from Sahal Abdul Samad.

The India international drilled in a volley past Amrinder Singh from just outside the box after being picked out by Rahul KP in the 24th minute.

Albino was having a night to forget after he brought down Roy Krishna inside the box. The Fiji international went on to convert the spot-kick as they led 2-1 in the 27th minute. Boumous then danced his way into the box and clipped a sumptuous finish past Albino to make it 3-1 in the 39th minute.
Things didn’t improve for Blasters in the second half as a ruthless Bagan continued to dominate the proceedings.

Liston Colaco, who is another new signing for Bagan, struck a screamer from outside the box as Habas’ side were 4-1 up by the 50th minute.

They kept cutting open the Blasters defence and could have scored more goals with better finishing.

Jorge Diaz pulled a consolation goal back in the 69th minute and the Argentine was one of the bright sparks for his side who were second best all night.

Liston was even denied by the post, mid-way through the second half as Bagan didn’t take their foot off the pedal. There was a late surge by Blasters towards the end of the game but it was too little too late by then.

Result: ATK Mohun Bagan 4 (Boumous 3, 39; Krishna 27p, Liston 50) bt Kerala Blasters 2 (Sahal 24, Diaz 69). 

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