KOLKATA: Defending champions ATK managed to halt their string of defeats with an uninspiring 2-2 draw against Kerala Blasters in their Indian Super League football fixture at Saltlake Stadium here on Thursday.
In a match between last year’s finalists, both the teams had their share of chances but it was ATK’s Ryan Taylor who did the star act by scoring one and setting up another for a hard-fought draw.
The draw took Kerala Blasters to fifth place with 21 points but with three games left for the Kochi-based outfit, the stalemate was a big blow to their playoff aspirations.
Winless from five matches that included four successive defeats, ATK now have 13 points from as many games to be out of the play-off race.
Debutant Gudjon Baldvinsson Headed Kerala in front in the 33rd minute from a cross in the area from Prasanth. Gudjon jumped high in the air to head it home as the ball took a deflection of Jordi Montel before getting into the net.
ATK levelled the scores in the space of five minutes when Taylor got a deflection and the ball rolled past the goalkeeper Subhasish Roy Chowdhury.
Milan Singh tried to play the ball forward to Dimitar Berbatov but Taylor intercepted and drilled in a low shot towards the goal.
Returning to the starting line-up after a lengthy injury lay-off, former Manchester United player Berbatov scored on the volley to take Kerala Blasters past ATK in the 55th minute.
When it seemed Kerala were in for a hat-trick of wins, Taylor put in a teasing ball near the goalkeeper. Tom Thorpe leapt highest to head in and get ATK level once again.
In the dying moments, Courage Pekuson set it up from the left as Baldvinsson headed at the goal but Thorpe cleared as ATK finally managed to come out of a four-match losing run. Source : timesofindia