GOLD IS NEVER OLD: Balwant's HATTRICK sailed ATK past Delhi Dynamos in the Super Cup QFs

Rohit Ganguly  |  Super Cup  |  1 Week Ago

A resurgent Balwant Singh fired home a marvellous hattrick to take ATK hammer and tongs into the semi-final of the Super Cup in a seven-goal thriller against Delhi Dynamos. With the game played in severe humid conditions, both the teams were indulged in an enthralling end to end action-packed ninety minutes which saw Kolkata walking away with the bragging rights, thanks to some incredible passing and some brilliant finishing from the Indian international, Balwant Singh.


The first fifteen minutes of the game was nothing but cagey when both the contingencies sat back deep and waited for the other one to fire first. It was Delhi who drew first blood. John Johnson couldn’t contend with Carmona and ended up fouling him by tugging his shirt and then shoving him. The ensuing free-kick was curled in by Carmona and a lurking Sajid Dhot headed home from the point-blank range, exploiting a flat-footed ATK rearguard, sending Delhi into the lead.


ATK’s reprisal was swift as they equalized only within eight minutes. Lanzarote crafted a picture-perfect pass for a surging Balwant and the former Mohun Bagan striker made a blistering run to latch onto the delivery and put it past a bamboozled Albino Gomes to restore order for Kolkata.


Kolkata’s second goal was an archetype of perfect collaboration amongst its team members. The move emanated from Pritam Kotal when the right-back carved a peach of a long cross for Jayesh Rane. Rane picked up the delivery and squared off the ATK skipper with it. The ball fell at Lanza’s powerful left foot and the Spaniard buried it into the net with extreme prejudice to make it 2-1 for ATK.


ATK showed no signs of relent as it was the synergy of Balwant and Rane that notched up the third for them. Jayesh Rane whipped in a delectable chip on a half-turn and Balwant was right at its end to blast the ball into the net past a stranded Albino Gomes. That was a screamer, to say the least.

The game was far from over when Delhi intensified the drama by pulling one back just within three minutes of ATK’s third. Lallianzuala Chhangte’s blistering run down the left caught the ATK defence napping and they paid a hefty price for it. Chhangte’s cross from the left took a weak deflection off Johnson and fell at the feet of Daniel Lalhimpuia who pulled off an acrobatic volley to make it 3-2.


Kolkata was on song and so was the partnership of Rane and Balwant. Delhi’s highline defence wasn’t really ready for the blitzkrieg counter-attacks. Lanzarote teed up an onrushing Rane with acres of free space ahead of him. The winger ran all the way and stayed selfless like ever and carved the final pass for a surging Balwant who dived to tuck the ball into the net past an unfortunate Albino Gomes.


Nandha Kumar fired home Delhi’s third single-handedly, wreaking havoc in the ATK defence as he whizzed past left and right, eluding ATK defenders and let a final shot fly, which rolled into the net taking a strong deflection of Bikey.


Despite Delhi’s desperate efforts to grab the equalizer in the dying embers of the game, Debjit Mazumder stood his ground with sumptuous exultation to deny any share of glory to his Delhi counterparts.


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