ATK Mohun Bagan missed countless chances, scored twice and conceded three to lose their Durand Cup Group B opener against I-League team Rajasthan United 3-2 at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday.
The expensively-assembled Juan Ferrando’s side, who aspire to make a name for themselves in the continent, struggled to beat a team who refused to bow down to the big names like Florentin Pogba, Joni Kauko and Hugo Boumous.
As Gyamar Nikum ran around the pitch after scoring the third in the fifth minute of stoppage time, Spaniard Ferrando and his men could only watch in disbelief.
Having off-loaded the striking duo of Roy Krishna and David Williams, ATK Mohun Bagan could have problems in front of the goal this season.
Playing out from the back which Ferrando wants his team to follow also looked an alien subject to the ATK Mohun Bagan players.
But these are early days, it’s the first match of the season and ATK Mohun Bagan will hope everything falls into place as the season progresses.
Kiyan Nassiri had given ATK Mohun Bagan the lead two minutes before half-time, only to see Bektur Amangeldiev equalise just before referee Crystal John blew the whistle for lemon break.
Ashique Kuruniyan put ATK Mohun Bagan ahead immediately after the resumption but Lalremsanga Fanai tied it all up again a minute after the hour-mark.
Just when everyone thought that the game was headed towards a stalemate, Arunachal Pradesh player Nikum slotted one past goalkeeper Arsh Anwar.
ATK Mohun Bagan started as favourites do, piling on attack after attack but the organised Rajasthan defence held firm.
Man of the Match goalkeeper Niraj Kumar was also solid under the bar. Time and again Kumar came to his team’s rescue.
A double save to deny Kauko and Nassiri and then Liston Colaco saw his free-kick being fisted away by Kumar.
Earlier, in Imphal, Army Red held Chennaiyin FC 2-2 in an entertaining match.