The home crowd at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium had a reason to cheer at the end of a game for the first time on Saturday as NorthEast United FC beat ATK Mohun Bagan 1-0 to end a ten-game losing streak and get their first points and win of the season.
Wilmar Jordan, a striker, scored the Mariners’ lone goal in the 69th minute to put them ahead. The Mariners maintained their composure at the back to secure the victory, which ended the Mariners’ own unbeaten streak and put them in danger of falling out of the top three.
It was ATK Mohun Bagan that began the game on the front foot — and it would remain as such until they yielded. At almost every point in the game, the visitors attempted to score with a sizable number of shots, but a well-organized NorthEast United FC defense prevented any of these shots from ever being significant.
To their credit, the home team didn’t let ATK Mohun Bagan’s much higher possession of the ball force them back into their own halves and kept their scoring options open. They posed a constant threat on the counter, and although they were unable to hit many targets with their shots, they continued to inquire about ATK Mohun Bagan’s high line.
Jordan’s strong shielding of the ball just outside the box in the 22nd minute, quick turn, and shot at the far post were the first real indications that they weren’t just trying to win this game. He only hit the post because he couldn’t find enough curls on it.
The majority of chances for ATMKB consisted of shooting straight at the goalkeeper, crossing the bar, or coming from a good distance away. Even though Kiyan Giri had the clearest opportunity for the visitors in the second half in the 68th minute, his shot from a tight angle on the right side of the box only found goalkeeper Mirshad Michu.
That indicated that ATMKB was working hard to secure a victory that would keep them close to Hyderabad FC in second place. However, the very next play would prove to be a boon for NorthEast United FC due to their dedication to scoring.
They only needed two passes to score: one from the defense to free Emil Benny on the right flank and a cross from the midfielder that found Jordan’s head in the middle of the box as he was rushing. NorthEast United FC then took over the game, creating more chances than ATKMB did, and held on to the victory.
NorthEast United FC remains in last place in the table despite the win; however, they will finish the year with points when they play Hyderabad FC on December 29.
ATKMB’s playoff momentum was harmed by the loss; they remain in third place but could fall if either Odisha FC or Kerala Blasters win on Monday. On December 28, they play FC Goa in their next match.