In the first match of the Reliance Foundation presents Premier League Next Generation Cup, ATK Mohun Bagan FC held West Ham United FC to a 1-1 draw at the Reliance Corporate Park (RCP) in Navi Mumbai today.
In the recently finished Reliance Foundation Development League (RFDL), the team in third place came dangerously close to stealing three points from this match. However, the Hammers replacement Favour Fawunmi’s late goal guaranteed that the defending FA Youth Cup champions came away from this encounter with a point.
The Mariners got the game going well because they didn’t hold back and attacked the opposition right away. They were well-organized enough to repel reversal attacks. And frequently breached the West Ham defence by launching some incisive passing patterns through the middle.
In the 10th minute, they made a breakthrough when the backline retrieved the ball. And skillfully advanced it up the pitch. Suhail Ahmad Bhat of ATK Mohun Bagan promptly took advantage of the scoring opportunity by slipping past the Hammers’ backline. And finishing with a precise shot into the bottom right corner of the goal.
The Kolkata team then put in some rather tenacious defensive efforts. Joining together in the middle of the pitch to thwart attacks. Suhail, Kiyan Nassiri Giri, and Ningombam Engson Singh interacted wonderfully as they took advantage of the defense’s gaps in West Ham.
In the 50th minute, the Hammers had a great chance to tie the game. But Lewis Orford’s penalty attempt was superbly saved by Arshdeep of ATK Mohun Bagan, who dove low to his left to block the shot. However, the adjustments West Ham made worked in their favour. And made sure they didn’t lose their opening match of the campaign.
West Ham United FC and ATK Mohun coach speaks
“The message was that we are facing a team that is the champion of the FA Youth Cup in England, which is a country in the top five of the FIFA rankings currently. They did an amazing final, beating Arsenal in the Emirates by 5-1. We knew who we were facing so the message was to keep fighting until the end, as we always do. There is always a chance, opportunity and momentum to score and we did quite well because we had three-four good chances, off which we scored one,” said ATK Mohun Bagan coach Josep Maria Roma Gibert.
“The message was to have patience. We could have had more (of that). The opportunities that we created, what we planned for, what we expected, I think to be calmer around the box, to keep probing and looking for opportunities that we knew would come. Obviously, there were situations when we missed the penalty. There were opportunities in the penalty box where we should have been converting them,” West Ham United coach Lauris Coggin spoke about his pep talk that helped his boys secure the late equaliser.
On May 20, West Ham United will play their next match against Bengaluru FC. While ATK Mohun Bagan will square off against Stellenbosch FC.
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