Kolkata celebrates ATK triumph with crackers, Molina comes for praise

Kolkata, Dec 18 (IANS) People burst crackers, donned the team colours and hit the roads on bikes as celebrations broke out in the city after Atletico de Kolkata lifted the ISL title for the second time in three years on Sunday.

Soon after ATK pipped Kerala Blasters 4-3 (1-1) on penalty shootout in an excruciating final in Kochi, sports buffs poured out on to the streets in strength, singing paens to the team and their coach Jose Molina.

With the final being held in the weekend, the streets of Kolkata – the soccer crazy city of cricket mad India – were largely deserted as people preferred to watch the live action on television.

The tension was intense as the match rolled into the tie-breaker, and ATK’s Canadian striker Iain Hume’s first penalty was blocked by Kerala custodian Graham Stack.

But the Kolkata side came roaring back, and Jewel Raja clinched the issue by calmly placing the ball into the net, triggering wild cheers in the home of ATK.

Children and youths celebrated the moment, breaking the silence of the night with the sound of incessant cracker bursts.

The soccer fans put on caps and jerseys of ATK and came out on the streets. Some youths rode bikes with the ATK colours fluttering from their vehicles.

“We must salute Molina. He missed a number of players due to injury and card issues. But still he stitched together a good team. He has filled into the shoes of Antonio Habas very well,” said a youth celebrating ATK’s success in south Kolkata’s Bhowanipore.

–IANS

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