Bhubaneswar, April 6: Indian Super League (ISL) outfit ATK held on by the skin of their teeth to overcome Delhi Dynamos FC 4-3 and enter the semifinals of the Hero Super Cup 2019 at the Kalinga Stadium.
Both teams created plenty of chances but ATK finally came out on top, courtesy of a scintillating hat-trick by striker Balwant Singh.
For a place in the final, ATK will take on the winner of the NorthEast United FC vs Chennaiyin FC match on Sunday (April 7).
FULL TIME!— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) April 5, 2019
7⃣ Goals ⚽️⚽️⚽️
1⃣ Hat-trick of Goals by @Balwant_Singh17 ! 🔥🔥🔥
1⃣ Hat-trick of Assists by Jayesh Rane! ⚡️⚡️⚡️
WHAT A MATCH!
DDFC 3-4 ATK#DDFCATK #HeroSuperCup #IndianFootball pic.twitter.com/S5LB9U9Vqk
Mohammed Sajid Dhot gave Delhi the lead on the 15th minute, but Balwant restored parity eight minutes later.
Manuel Lanzarote scored to put ATK in front on the 28th minute, before Balwant made it 3-1 on the 34-minute mark.
Daniel Lalhlimpuia pulled a goal back for Delhi almost instantly to set up an intriguing second half.
Balwant completed his hat-trick and restored ATK's two-goal cushion on the 51st minute.
Delhi clawed their way back into the match with a deflected strike from Nandhakumar Sekar on the 72nd minute but couldn't find their all-important fourth goal to enforce extra time.
ATK coach Steve Coppell was all praise for Balwant, "Superb, it was a really good display of centre forward play. The three goals were all different. He showed strength, he showed pace, he showed calm finishing. It was a really good performance at the spearhead of the team. He was outstanding."
His Delhi counterpart Josep Gombau shared his views, "I think this game is a reflection of our season this year. We played good football. We had the ball more than the opponent. We had more crosses, more shots, more everything, but at the end, with some mistakes that we had, the opponents beat us. I think that is what happened to us this season. We have to work hard to come back stronger next year," he said.
(With Agency inputs)