A David Williams stunner, from just outside the box, gave ATK Mohun Bagan a 1-0 win over Bengaluru FC. In the end it was a comfortable affair for the reigning champions, with BFC rarely threatening Arindam Bhattacharya's goal.
BFC had made a number of changes, with Rahul Bheke at left-back to cover for the unfortunately injured Ashique Kuruniyan and the pair of Udanta Singh and Deshorn Brown replacing Suresh Singh Wangjam and Kristian Opseth.
Habas, meanwhile, had made one change to the team that ground out the win against FC Goa -- and it was an attacking one, Edu Garcia replacing Jayesh Rane.
They were similarly attack-minded on the pitch. ATKMB took the game to BFC from the off, with the front three of Williams, Roy Krishna and Manvir Singh a constant menace, and with Garcia controlling midfield behind them they were much the better side through the game.
In the 11th minute, Subhasish Bose drilled in a low cross for Manvir, who got the better of Bheke. But his first-time shot was easily caught by the Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. His second attempt was set up by Garcia with a sublime through ball, which was also dealt with by the Bengaluru keeper. Sunil Chhetri did test Arindam Bhattacharja but it went straight to the ATKMB custodian.
With BFC playing a high line, Krishna had plenty of space to run in behind, but was caught offside thrice before breaking through in the 16th minute. Juanan, though, shielded him superbly and prevented a shot on goal. At the other end, a poor clearance led to a tame Erik Paartalu header, right into the arms of Arindam.
Then, in the 33rd minute, David Williams stepped up. A long ball from Carl McHugh was stopped dead with a deft touch before he worked space at the edge of the box and curled a wonderful strike past a hapless Gurpreet.
- Indian Super League: Stream LIVE on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
The second half followed much the same pattern, with Williams skying a presentable chance soon after the restart. Bengaluru had more attacks, coming closest in the 73rd minute. A careless goalkick from Arindam saw Leon Augustine and Suresh combine to release Cleiton Silva in the six-yard box who scraped a shot wide.
As the game went on, ATKMB sank deeper and deeper and eventually saw off a rather dull-looking BFC side comfortably. They are now second on the table, on goal difference, having taken 16 points in 7 matches. They face Chennaiyin next on Dec 29. Bengaluru, meanwhile, remain third with 12 points in seven, two clear of the hot-in-pursuit NorthEast United and Jamshedpur. They face the latter on Dec 28.