Substitute Arata Izumi rose to the occasion and struck two late goals to lead Atletico de Kolkata to a 3-2 victory over Kerala Blasters in an exciting Indian Super League (ISL) football match in Kochi on Tuesday.
Izumi first found the back of the net in the 84th minute and scored the decisive goal on the 90th minute exactly, helping the defending champions overcome the hosts at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Nallapan Mohanraj put the visitors ahead with a 29th minute strike. Antonio German restored parity when he found the target in the 42nd minute. Having conceded the lead again after the breather, German once again helped Kerala Blasters draw level by scoring in the 85th minute.
However, it was not to be Kerala Blasters' day as Arata sealed the issue with his strike just before the final whistle.
Izumi's second goal of the night, in injury time, was the hammer blow as Kolkata kept their chances of making the semi-finals alive with their fourth win in nine matches.
Coming off the bench, if Arata's first goal was not enough, he again put his team ahead with a calm and composed finish from inside the box. Sameehg Doutie sent in a ball into the six-yard box which Arata gleefully tapped in.
Struggling at the bottom of the table, the defeat has not only broken the hearts of the Blasters fans but also the players, especially German who produced a stellar show only to end up in the losing team.
Image: Atletico Kolkata's Arata Izumi celebrates after scoring the winning goal against Kerala Blasters during their Indian Super League match on Tuesday