• Tuesday, July 05, 2022

FOOTBALL

Indian club ATK takes third ISL title behind closed doors

ATK players celebrate the win. (SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Sarwar Alam

The Indian Super League remained one of the few sporting events to go ahead Saturday with ATK winning a record third title in front of an empty stadium in Goa.

ATK, which won the popular franchise-based football competition in 2014 and 2016, beat Chennaiyin FC 3-1 in the final to become the first team with three titles.

With more than 80 confirmed cases of coronavirus and two deaths reported in India, all sporting activities have been suspended.

India stopped all domestic soccer and cricket events and postponed the cash-rich Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament Friday after the government ordered measures against travel and public gatherings.

But the ISL final went ahead with fans kept out of the 19,000 capacity stadium as Spanish international Javier Hernandez scored two goals in each half.

The ISL, which has now grown to 10 teams, has in six years outstripped the older I-League as the country’s premier football club competition. ISL league leaders FC Goa had become the first-ever Indian club to secure a spot in the AFC Champions League group stage last month.

The pandemic has led officials to cancel, postpone or shutter a long list of top sporting events worldwide, including Premier League football, NBA basketball, Formula One racing and the Giro d’Italia.

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