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Robbie Keane makes impact off bench but Indian Super League debut ends in defeat

Keane provided a sumptuous through ball for a late leveler, but it wasn’t enough for ATK.

Image: PA Archive/PA Images

ROBBIE KEANE FEATURED for the final half hour of ATK’s trip to Chennaiyin FC, but his Indian Super League debut would end in a 3-2 defeat to the home side.

Manager Teddy Sheringham threw on his marquee signing for Bipin Singh after 61 minutes, but the opening goal of the game arrived at the other end of the pitch just three minutes later when Jeje tapped home a header from Sereno which had rebounded off the woodwork.

Keane’s ATK struggled to make inroads throughout but they were gifted a leveler less than 15 minutes later, as the Chennaiyin defence failed to clear a speculative cross into the box.

Former Birmingham striker Njazi Kuqi kept the ball alive in the box before Zequinha fired home from close range to make it 1-1.

The Fin almost doubled his and his side’s tally soon afterwards, but ATK would fall behind in the 84th minute when Brighton cast-off Inigo Calderon’s first-time effort deflected off former Manchester United youngster Tom Thorpe and into the net.

In the 89th minute, though, Keane came alive.

A delicate and perfectly-weighted through ball from the Irishman found Kuqi, who smashed home at the second time of asking.

It wasn’t to be Keane nor ATK’s day however: a howler by their ‘keeper, Debjit Majumder, presented the ball to Chennaiyin forward Jeje Lalpekhlua, and the 26-year-old slotted home first-time at the death to send the home crowd into raptures.

Tonight’s result sees Chennaiyin go top, while Keane’s ATK remain rooted to the foot of the ISL table after four games.

Next up for ATK is a trip to Mumbai on 17 December.

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