Kolkata: It was a seventh minute Simao Sabrosa strike from a penalty which helped NorthEast United down Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) 1-0 in an Indian Super League (ISL) encounter at the Salt Lake stadium here on Saturday.
Simao calmly tucked the ball in to give his side the lead. The visitors then held onto the one goal advantage for the rest of the game.
After eight outings, NorthEast climb to the seventh spot with 10 points while defending champions Atletico, who have also played eight matches, remain in the fifth place with 10 points but ahead on goal difference.
The first half started off on a lively note as both sides pushed upfront in search of an early goal. It did pay off for the visitors as a foul on striker Carlos Lopez earned them a penalty in the seventh minute.
It was a corner which was floated in as Lopez and ATK midfielder Ofentse Nato went for the ball, television replays showed there was no contact between Nato and the striker but the Canadian referee David John Gantar thought otherwise and pointed to the spot. Sambrosa stepped up and calmly slotted it past Atletico custodian Amrinder Singh who went the right way but failed to get to the ball.
Jolted, it was Atletico who went on the attack. Mohammed Rafique tried to win his side a penalty by going down in the area but the referee did not fall prey to it.
Hume had a run thereafter at the NortEast defence and was brought down by Lopez. Midfielder Gavilan Martinez's floater inside the box from a free-kick was misread by goalkeeper Rehenesh T.P. who palmed it away for a corner with Nato lurking in front.
NorthEast tried to hit back and Nicolas Velez succeeded in finding the back of the net but he was ruled offside.
A few minutes later Rafique found himself at the end of a free-kick and managed to head it goalwards but the ball was collected by a diving Rehenesh.
It could have been 2-0 for NorthEast a few minutes later as Velez, after a brilliant run, almost found Bruno Arias inside the box clear on goal but defedner Denzel Franco cleared the threat with a timely lunge. At halftime Gavilan Martinez led 1-0.
The first chance after the breather fell for the hosts as substitute defender Arnab Mandal tried to head one in but his effort agonisingly flew off target.
At the other end it was Velez who was clean through on goal but he failed to control the ball and Amrinder collected it almost off his feet.
Velez missed two more chances thereafter as his efforts missed the target.
ATK could have found their equaliser when Rafique set up Hume brilliantly but the ball was cleared away by NorthEast defender Andre Bikey who stuck his big foot in to clear the danger.
Hume was again through on goal in the 81st minute, but Bikey managed to put off the Canadian forward as his shot went wide.
There were waves of Atletico attacks in the dying minutes of the game but the visitors stood strong and picked up their third victory of the season.