Roy Krishna once again spelled his magic on the high profile Kolkata derby by scoring one and assisting in another two as ATK Mohun Bagan walked away with a one-sided 3-1 win over SC East Bengal in the ISL, in Margao, on Friday.
In the 100th year of Kolkata derby, Roy Krishna drew first blood in the 15th minute in a dominating start by the Mariners but a blip saw Tiri accidentally head into his own net (41st) from a Raju Gaikwad throw-in as both teams headed into the break 1-1.
But it was a powerhouse display by the Mariners in the second half with the Fijian star marksman all over the pitch.
Roy Krishna magically intercepted a short pass by SCEB captain Daniel Fox at close range before David Williams found the back of the net with a perfect finish (72nd).
There was more to the misery of SCEB as they conceded a third one in the 89th minute with Roy Krishna setting up with a clinical cross to Javi Hernandez from the right to secure their fifth win on the trot and second successive derby win of the season.
ATK Mohun Bagan, who downed Jamshedpur FC by a solitary goal in their previous outing, thus consolidated their position at the top further with 39 points from 18 matches.
It also meant that they went five points clear of second-placed Mumbai FC, brightening their chance to walk away with the League Winners' Shield and sealing the AFC Champions League slot.
Having seen their ultra defensive approach break in by Roy krishna's incisive raids, the Red-and-Gold started looking dangerous with set-pieces but were completely outplayed by the Antonio Lopez Habas-coached side.
Roy Krishna's strong control and finishing skill was on offer early into the start when he sprinted towards goal, dribbled past the goalkeeper Subrata Paul and found the back of the net from the night for his sixth goal in as many matches.
After the cooling break, the Red and Gold Brigade suddenly looked dangerous with their set-pieces and it was Tiri who became the culprit to gift a goal to their rivals.
It seemed Tiri was blocked by their central defender Sandesh Jhingan as he could not view ball properly to get the deflection into his own net.
But it did not matter much as Roy Krishna toyed with SCEB's fragile defence and set up the two goals for Williams and Javi.
"We knew how dangerous they could be from set-pieces, but we're glad that we bounced back after the own goal. We showed the character in the second half," Roy Krishna said.
With two games left for them, the Fijian urged the team to stay grounded.
"It's huge yes, but can't get carried away and take one match at a time," Roy Krishna added.
Gokulam Kerala FC score four goals in second half, thrash Indian Arrows
Gokulam Kerala FC scored four goals in a stellar second -half performance to thrash Indian Arrows 4-0 in the I-League in Kalyani.
After a listless display in the first half in which Sharif Mohammad missed a penalty kick, strikes by Emil Benny (47th minute), Dennis Antwi (50th), substitute Lalromawia (78th), and Ronald Singh (90+4) in the second half gave the Malabarians much-needed three points.
With the win, Gokulam Kerala grabbed the fourth position in the standings with 13 points from eight matches.
Coming on the back of a solid 3-1 win over TRAU in their last match, Gokulam Kerala FC looked to extend their winning streak. But the Indian Arrows proved no pushovers in the first half as the Malabarians hardly created a clear goal-scoring chance.
Compact and solid defending at the back coupled with clinical goalkeeping by the Indian Arrows in the first half gave the Malabarians much trouble. The Vincenzo Annese-coached side lacked creativity in the final third with the main striker Philip Adjah left isolated.
The Arrows had two chances in the opening minutes of the match through midfielder Harsh Patre, but both chances went inches wide of the goal.
Despite the Malabarians enjoying possession, the Indian Arrows seemed dangerous on the counter-attack.
The highlight of the first half came in the 38th minute when Philip Adjah's cross for Dennis Antwi led Gurpanthjeet Singh to tackle the latter as the referee pointed to the spot. Gokulam failed to score as Sharif Mohammad's penalty kick was saved by Ahaan Prakash.
The Indian Arrows had an opportunity to take the lead in the 44th minute when Vanlalruatfela capitalized on a defensive mistake by Deepak Devrani, only to see his shot saved by the opposition custodian.
Gokulam Kerala attacked from the start in the second half. A cross from the left flank caused havoc in the Arrows' penalty box in the 47th minute and the opportunity fell to Emil Benny, who tapped home from close range to hand the Malabarians lead.
Next, in the 50th minute, the Malabarians were awarded a second penalty and this time, Dennis Antwi converted with ease and beat Ahaan Prakash to double Gokulam's lead.
In the 77th minute, Philip Adjah had an opportunity to make it 3-0 but his curling shot from inside the box went inches wide of the goal.
However, a few seconds later, substitute Lalromawia scored from close range after Dennis Antwi's shot, which was saved by Prakash, fell on the midfielder's path.
Ronald Singh added more gloss to the scoreline in added time of the second half.
Clinical NEROCA FC keep top 6 hopes alive with win over Sudeva Delhi FC
NEROCA FC gave themselves a chance to finish in the top six by blanking Sudeva Delhi FC 2-0 in the I-League in Kolkata.
Goals by Judah Garcia (45th minute) and super-sub Songpu Singsit (72nd) ensured a victory for Gift Raikhan's side in a hard-fought game against the newcomers.
NEROCA had the first sight of goal in the seventh minute, as Garcia dispossessed Naorem Tondomba and his long-distance attempt hit the side-netting of Rakshit Dagar's goal.
Sudeva's Naorem Mahesh threaded a through pass for Shubho Paul, but NEROCA's custodian Bishorjit Singh came off his line to collect it.
Sudeva were handed an opportunity to take the lead on a platter when Jiteshwor Singh brought down Mahesh in the penalty area. However, Kean Lewis' spot kick in the 12th minute was pushed away by Bishorjit Singh.
Seconds later, Mahesh blasted Lewis' cutback from a free-kick high of the goal.
Raikhan's side did get an opportunity to strike in the 13th minute after Garcia brought down Lungdim's cross, but was unable to take his shot. The loose ball, however, fell to Subash Singh, who hit his shot wide of the target.
The game died down a little in terms of opportunities as Sudeva started to hold the majority of the possession.
Sudeva's Shaiborg Kharpan was brought down just outside the area by Bishorjit Singh in a one-on-one on the 37th minute. Luckily for the keeper, the young striker's touch was heavy and he earned just a yellow card for his tackle.
Mahesh's shot from the following free-kick looped into the hands of Bishorjit after it hit the wall.
Sudeva went on to create chances but lacked quality in the final third. They were punished on the 45th minute as NEROCA quickly took a free-kick in their own half.
Garcia was at the end of a Khaiminthang Lhungdim's cross on the quick break and the Trinidadian powered his header past Rakshit Dagar, giving the Orange Brigade lead just before half-time.
Rakshit Dagar saved Sudeva Delhi from falling further behind in the 53rd minute. The keeper showcased quick reflexes to deny Judah after the goalscorer had dispossessed Gursimrat Gill off the ball in the penalty area.
Meanwhile, Sudeva kept attacking and came close to the equaliser twice in the 57th minute.
Bishorjit pulled off a brilliant save off Kharpan's header from Naorem Mahesh's corner before Deepak Singh cleared substitute Augustin Fernandes' header off the line.
Bisjorjit made another fine stop in the 65th minute when a William Pauliankhum set-piece was knocked into the path of Naocha Singh. The substitute was denied entry again by the NEROCA custodian.
NEROCA broke on the counter and Prakash Budhathoki struck the crossbar after some good work by Garcia.
NEROCA found their second goal in the 72nd minute when Songpu Singsit beat a defender and curled his shot past Rakshit Dagar from just inside the area.