In a closely contested match, West Ham United FC and ATK Mohun both earned points

In the opening match of the Reliance Foundation presents Premier League Next Generation Cup, ATK Mohun Bagan FC tied West Ham United FC at 1-1
Players in action during league matches of the Next Generation 2023 Cup between West Ham United and ATK Mohun Bagan played at Reliance corporate park at Ghansoli, in Navi Mumbai on 17th May 2023 Photo: Ankur Salvi / Focus Sports/ NGPL

(Football news) The Reliance Foundation Development League (RFDL) team that finished third in the most recent season came dangerously close to stealing three points from this match. The current FA Youth Cup champions, however, were able to leave this encounter with a point thanks to a late goal by Hammers substitute Favour Fawunmi.

The Mariners got the game going well by not backing down and putting the opposition under pressure right away. The West Ham defence was frequently penetrated by them as they initiated some incisive passing patterns through the centre and were organised enough to repel attempts at the back.

In the 10th minute, they made a breakthrough when the backline retrieved the ball and skillfully advanced it up the pitch. Suhail Ahmad Bhat of ATK Mohun Bagan promptly took advantage of the scoring opportunity by slipping past the Hammers’ backline and finishing with a precise shot into the bottom right corner of the goal.

The Kolkata team then put in some rather tenacious defensive efforts, joining together in the middle of the pitch to thwart attacks. Suhail, Kiyan Nassiri Giri, and Ningombam Engson Singh interacted wonderfully as they took advantage of the defence’s gaps in West Ham.

In the 50th minute, the Hammers had a great chance to tie the game, but Lewis Orford’s penalty attempt was superbly saved by Arshdeep of ATK Mohun Bagan, who dove low to his left to block the shot. However, the adjustments West Ham made worked in their favour and made sure they didn’t lose their opening match of the campaign.

“The message was that we are facing a team that is the champion of the FA Youth Cup in England, which is a country in the top five of the FIFA rankings currently. They did an amazing final, beating Arsenal in the Emirates by 5-1. We knew who we were facing so the message was to keep fighting until the end, as we always do. There is always a chance, opportunity and momentum to score and we did quite well because we had three-four good chances, off which we scored one,” said ATK Mohun Bagan coach Josep Maria Roma Gibert.

“The message was to have patience. We could have had more (of that). The opportunities that we created, what we planned for, what we expected, I think to be calmer around the box, to keep probing and looking for opportunities that we knew would come. Obviously, there were situations when we missed the penalty. There were opportunities in the penalty box where we should have been converting them,” West Ham United coach Lauris Coggin spoke about his pep talk that helped his boys secure the late equaliser.

On May 20, West Ham United will play their next match against Bengaluru FC, while ATK Mohun Bagan will square off against Stellenbosch FC.

Brief Scores
West Ham United FC 1 (Favour Fawunmi 64’) – 1 (Suhail Ahmad Bhat 10’)

Also read: RFYC begin With a convincing victory over Sudeva Delhi FC, Reliance Foundation kicks off the Next Generation Cup


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