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Roy hat-trick in ATK win

Victory takes ATK to the summit of ISL with 33 points from 16 matches
Roy Krishna on Saturday

Sayak Banerjee   |   Calcutta   |   Published 08.02.20, 08:09 PM

Splendid, magnificent, superlative... One may have to keep looking for such terms to describe the performance of Roy Krishna.

Taking a rather uneventful first half in his stride, Roy unleashed himself on Odisha FC after the breather with a hat-trick as ATK comfortably won 3-1 at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday to reach the playoffs of ISL VI.

The victory — their fourth on the trot — also took them to the top spot as they have a better goal difference than FC Goa despite being tied on 33 points.

Speed has been one of the plus points of this ATK unit, and they tried to trump their opponents with it right from the onset. With a superior ball possession, they initiated moves mainly from the right with Prabir Das leading the way, but just couldn’t find the target.

Nonetheless, the class player that Roy is, he wreaked havoc in the Odisha FC defence that helped ATK to practically seal the game within quarter of an hour into the second half.

Off Javier Hernandez’s corner, Roy made room for himself and came up with a volley, beating the outstretched hands of rival goalie Francisco Ramon. ATK were 1-0 up in the 49th minute.

The second strike could well go on to be the goal of the season so far. Armando Sosa directed a long ball towards Roy, he sprinted almost 30 yards down the left and lobbed the ball over the advancing goalkeeper to score his second and double ATK’s lead in the hour mark.

Roy’s marker could only run alongside him and watch him score. There was nothing else the Odisha FC defender could do, as Roy, with his speed, had beaten him all ends up.

Soon after, Roy got what was a deserving third. Received Jayesh Rane’s centre from the right perfectly, in no time he smacked home another right footer that more or less confirmed full points for ATK and a playoffs berth.

With that goal, Roy also took his tally to 13 to become the highest goal-scorer for the time being.

His performances certainly come as a refreshing relief especially at a time Indian football deals with an overdose of Spanish players, with some of them being mediocre to say the least. Nine players were part of the playing XI across both teams in this game, but Roy outshone all of them.

“He (Roy) is a very important player for us. He has lots skills to score goals and his commitment sets an example,” hailed head coach Antonio Lopez.

For his part, Roy said: “I’m just doing my job, which is doing my job for the team. My goal is always to do something for my team.

“All three goals were special for me… The victory was for our captain Agus (Garcia), who’s going through family issues at home. Hopefully, this win will give him some motivation and help him come back stronger.”

To talk of Odisha FC, they depended mainly on counter-attacks before getting one consolation goal in the 67th minute. Manuel Onwu scored for the visitors off a centre from the right.

But the match was already in ATK’s pocket by then. Thanks to Roy’s brilliance.

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