ISL 2020-21: India striker Manvir Singh’s 68th-minute goal in the 2nd leg semi-final gave ATK Mohun Bagan the win against NorthEast United and a place in the ISL 2020-21 final. The sublime strike also gave Manvir a chance to win the title after failing to do so with FC Goa in the 2018-19 season.
The goal in many ways was special. Not only did he dribble past two defenders, but his powerful shot also gave NorthEast custodian Subhasish Roy no chance. His performance in the match earned him a man of the match award, a rarity for Indian strikers, barring Sunil Chhetri.
On a personal front, the season has been special for Manvir. Tuesday’s goal was his sixth of the season apart from three assists. The only other Indian striker to have a better record than him is Chhetri, who netted eight for Bengaluru FC in the league stage.
“Tuesday’s goal is the best of the six goals I have scored so far. Not because of dribbling against two defenders of the opponent, but because the goal was scored in the semi-final. This is a great achievement for me,” Manvir Singh said.
After the match, he received numerous messages and phone calls, including one from his father, Kuldeep Singh. But his father, a former footballer, had a different demand. Kuldeep wants his son to score in the final against Mumbai City FC and help ATK Mohun Bagan retain the ISL title having missed out on the AFC Champions League slot. Manvir has taken this to heart. He is now determined to fulfil his father’s wish.
ISL 2020-21: ATK Mohun Bagan striker Manvir Singh aims for ISL title after special goal in semifinal
“My father called on Tuesday night and said, ‘it’s okay to score in the semi-final. I want to see you score in the final. Make the team the champions’. Father’s wish must be fulfilled. I have also received numerous messages from members and supporters in the last two days and the only request was to score and reach the final,” he added.
But against a tough Mumbai City team, it will not be easy. ATKMB are yet to beat Sergio Lobera’s men this season having lost on both occasions. In the first semifinal, Mumbai City edged past FC Goa in a tie-breaker 6-5 after the aggregate was tied to 2-2. They have been the team to beat but Goa’s inspiring 2nd leg performance proved that Mumbai City can be overcome. Manvir believes Mumbai is a strong team but are not invincible and he wants to lift the trophy having missed out the last time.
“Mumbai will be in front of us in the final. We have never defeated the team in the group league. We will correct the mistakes made in those matches and go to the final. I am optimistic about the success of our team. I reached the final once while I was playing in FC Goa. But I could not touch the trophy as we were defeated. That dream has to be fulfilled this time,” Manvir said.