MUMBAI:It wasn’t just the red and white stripes that Atletico de Kolkata have copied from their big brothers in Madrid. The Indian Super League outfit, co-owned by Atletico de Madrid, seemed to have borrowed some of the doggedness of Diego Simeone’s side as well as they snapped their three-match losing streak with a 4-1 victory over Mumbai City FC on Sunday.
Simeone’s teams, especially the 2013-14 side that won La Liga and was minutes away from winning the Champions League, are known for being stoic. And at DY Patil Stadium, Kolkata cut the high-flying Mumbai down to size. Hitting hard on the counter, they were also lucky to have an experienced man like Iain Hume to take that final shot.
The Canadian scored the third hat-trick of this year’s ISL while Indian defender Augustine Fernandes rounded off the tally for the visitors.
In his first start and full 90 minutes on the pitch, Nicolas Anelka showed streaks of brilliance but proved largely ineffective. The coach-cum-marquee player had missed most of the campaign this season due to a groin injury.
Mumbai’s attack had found its edge in the previous three matches with Sunil Chhetri, playing right behind the striker, and Sonny Norde forming a great combination. But Anelka’s arrival seemed to have hindered rather than helped the partnership. Mumbai had been left with a 0-2 deficit at half time, with Hume scoring one with a superb volley and the second from the penalty spot. In an attempt to shake things up, the hosts opted for all three substitutions at the restart. The inclusion of striker Frederic Piquionne and No 10 Salim Benachour added the missing urgency but they kept hitting the Kolkata wall.
The breakthrough came for Mumbai in the 71st minute when when Benachour picked up a rebound off a Chhetri shot and slotted it in. Even though the goal goaded Mumbai into pressing further, they left too many gaps.
Kolkata were quick to assert upper hand, as Augustine struck in the 77th minute against the run of play and Hume completed hat-trick in the 82nd minute.
Mumbai dropped to sixth in the table after the loss. Though Kolkata are equal with them on points — 10 from seven matches — they rose to fifth owing to a superior goal difference.