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ATK and FC Goa played Stalemate in the most Talked About ISL fixture, ever!

Sayan Dey  |  Indian Super League  |  10 Months Ago

When there is a football tussle between two of the best teams from Kolkata and Goa, there is never any shortage of competition both on and off-the-field, be it any tournament or any team in any level of football. And when it’s ATK Vs FC Goa in the most cash-rich league of South Asia, then that automatically attracts many eyeballs.

 

Such matches are almost never short of drama and today’s one was no exception. The match ended in a 1-1 draw but more than the on-the-field activities, the day-long off-the-field string of events acted more as an eyebrow-raiser. Jersey decides to put forth 5 points related to this game which are worth to be pondered about:

Unprecedented Delay

The match was scheduled to start at 19:50 hrs IST. But it got delayed by almost 2 hours and 40 mins and the Kickoff took place at about 23:00 hrs. None could recall any precedence in Indian football where a club football match of top flight has started so late!

 

It all started the day before with FC Goa’s chartered flight being forced to land back to the Dabolim Airport after departing due to some mechanical faults. The team then decided to set sails for the ‘City of Joy’ on the morning of the Matchday but a Mig29 of Indian Navy crashed at the airport premises during testing resulting in total shutting-down of normal flight running at the Goa airport.

 

The team at last departed Goa on 5:50 PM and arrived at Kolkata near 9 PM then heading directly to the stadium. All these resulted in this delay which not only added to the inconvenience of the fans but sent a negative message to the rest of the world.

What’s the Rule?

According to guidelines, a match needs to be completed within 23:59:59 hrs of the scheduled date or it should be declared ‘Postponed’ or ‘Re-Scheduled’ or Points should be awarded to the home team if lapses are proved from the part of the visiting team. But this match has set another unprecedented example where a game started in one day and ended on the next day much contrary to the existing beliefs. The rule of the teams reporting at the venue 90 minutes prior to the kick-off was also not maintained.

 

The game had already been rescheduled as it got shifted to 3rd January from 31st December of last year and consequently the organizers were in no mood of re-scheduled it again. According to the rules, in such cases if the away team fails to arrive on time then the home-side is awarded 3 points unless it is proved that the lapse was unavoidable. In this case the situation was almost unavoidable by the Goans and as a result ATK being awarded 3 points would have annoyed the Goa management.

 

Did IMG-R forced everyone to organize the match in anyway possible to alleviate probable allegations of mis-management from their behalf? Well the question will never be answered. The relative inactivity of the social media platforms of ISL regarding updating people about the whole scenario compounded with uncanny silence of the involved franchisees only added to the woes.



Keane and Corominas

Talking about some on-the-field action, it is often said that when it’s a battle between two equals then one or two exceptional players do something special which proves they are class apart. Both ATK and FC Goa fortunate had two such guys in their ranks in the form of Roy Keane and Ferran Corominas respectively. Both the talismanic foreign recruits netted one each but more importantly lead the team from the front.

 

Keane’s early header from Ryan Taylor’s free-kick gave ATK the lead which got nullified by an impressive strike from Corominas who have already become the all-time top scorer for FC Goa scoring 9 goals in only 6 matches. Although all the players fought well but these two were class apart and Edu Bedia deserves a special mention who pretty much controlled the whole game from the heart of the Goan midfield and was justifiably conferred with the ‘Man of the Match’ award.





Goa’s denied penalty:

This issue created a bit of confusion among the players and also the fans as Goa’s Brandon Fernandes was brought down inside the box by ATK’s right-back Prabir Das bit hastily. Das was already on a booking and the referee wax probably reluctant to send the home-side down to ten men and awarded Goa a free-kick while the visitors demanded a penalty. Looking at the replays one may find that the Goans were probably bit unlucky as instances of people falling down with lesser contact and being given penalties can be cited. But it was one of those decisions where the referee should be given the benefit of the doubt, something that Sergio Lobera would probably deny.

Sherringham’s future

It’s currently ‘Coach-sacking’ period going on in Indian football as in a span of two days Rene Meulensteen of Kerala Blasters,  Sanjoy Sen of Mohun Bagan and Joao de Daus Pires of NorthEast have either parted ways or was sacked. Although ATK has a positive reputation of giving their coaches enough time, but Teddy has probably already started to feel the heat. ATK is standing 7th on the ladder with 9 points from 7 games, same as 6th placed Jamshedpur but 4 less than the fourth spot-holders FC Goa, who were their opponents today. Although still it’s a long time to go and ATK officials will probably not like to make a big decision at the mid-season, but the next two-three games will be highly important for the former Stevenage manager. Negative outcomes in the upcoming outings can send the former Manchester United ace into serious questions regarding his future at the hotseat of Kolkata.






 

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