2016 Indian Super League, 2016 Indian Super League
  • Emiliano Alfaro (39')
  • Hélder Postiga (63')
  • Juan Belencoso (82')

Kolkata come from behind to go top

Highlights: NEUFC 1-2 ATK (2:28)

Atletico de Kolkata handed NorthEast United their second successive defeat with a late 2-1 win. (2:28)

Atletico de Kolkata came from behind to register their third win of the season, an action-packed 2-1 victory against NorthEast United in Guwahati lifting them to the top of the table.

Helder Postiga, who was back in Kolkata's squad after a lengthy injury lay-off, turned the game around in the second half, scoring the equalizer in the 63rd minute, and playing a part in the winner, which was converted by Juan Belencoso in the 82nd.

NorthEast had initially taken the lead through Emiliano Alfaro's header six minutes before the break, but their poor second half performance meant they fell to a second successive defeat.

Both teams made big changes ahead of the game. Kolkata left Tiri and Iain Hume on the bench, instead bringing in Henrique Sereno and Belencoso. NorthEast, meanwhile, left midfielder Romaric and winger Nicolas Velez out of their XI, opting to start with Robert Cullen and Wellington Priori.

Buoyed by their home support, NorthEast started the game as the brighter side, with the axis of Katsumi Yusa, Cullen and Alfaro always looking dangerous in the attacking third.

First, Katsumi played Cullen through on the left, but Cullen's low shot was well-saved by the Kolkata keeper Debjit Majumder. NorthEast then had a penalty appeal waved away when Katsumi drove inside the box and appeared to brought down by Sereno.

Atletico's only real chance of the first half came in the 30th minute, when Belencoso's half-volley was blocked by Gustavo Lazzaretti 15 yards from goal. It was a crucial stop by Lazzaretti, as the shot was hit with power and looked to be heading towards the back of the net.

Soon after, Alfaro had another penalty appeal for NorthEast turned down, but he eventually put the hosts ahead with a sumptuous header, his fifth goal of the season.

Katsumi and the right-back Nirmal Chettri played a neat one-two near the by-line before Nirmal put in an inviting cross into the box, which Alfaro finished off emphatically. It was one of the best team goals of the season.

NorthEast went into half-time with the scoreline as well as the momentum in their favour, but Kolkata made some key changes before coming out again. Postiga made way for the unimpressive Sameehg Doutie, while Prabir Das went off for Robert Lalthlamuana.

Kolkata also pushed Javi Lara on to the right, and Stephen Pearson moved further ahead to partner Postiga and Beloncoso in attack.

The presence of Postiga in and around the NorthEast penalty box made all the difference, as Kolkata managed four shots in the opening 15 minutes of the second half. The sustained pressure eventually paid dividends when Lalrindika Ralte cut in from the left flank and crossed to an unmarked Postiga, who showed great composure and timing to head past Subrata Pal's near post.

Kolkata, buoyed by the equalizer, got more involved in the game, as NorthEast suddenly began playing second fiddle. The visitors then deservedly took the lead in the 83rd minute. Postiga's deflected shot from outside the box fell kindly to Ralte on the left flank, and Ralte squared the ball to an unmarked Belencoso, who tapped it into an empty net.

NorthEast searched desperately for a goal in the dying minutes, and nearly found one when Majumder fumbled a cross inside the box, but Katsumi failed to take advantage, as his shot was blocked. Alfaro troubled Kolkata's defence with some dangerous crosses and runs in the box, but it was not enough, as NorthEast succumbed to their second straight home defeat of the season.

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