As the Champions clash, ATK's first home game ends in a Draw
2nd October 2016
Venue: Rabindra Sarobar Stadium, Kolkata
ATK Starting XI: Debjit Majumder(GK), Robert Lalthlamuana, Jose Luis Espinosa Arroyo (Tiri), Arnab Mondal, Pritam Kotal, Javi Lara, Bikramjit Singh, Borja Fernandez (C), Sameehg Doutie, Iain Hume, Helder Postiga.
Chennaiyin FC Starting XI: Kerr(GK), Wadoo, Mendy(C), Riise, Mohanraj, Baljit, Raphael, Mulder, Jayesh Rane, Jeje, Succi
This was a clash which was highly anticipated from the moment the Indian Super League 2016 fixtures were announced.
The first time in ISL history that two former Champions would battle it out on the field to come out victorious.
With a new team, a new manager and a new stadium, the entire country was awaiting to see what magic ATK could weave this season. On the other hand, Chennaiyin FC seemed hell-bent on defending their trophy from the last season.
Our Head coach, Jose Molina fielded a strong team having the mixture of both experience and youth by their side in a 4-2-3-1 combination. While the in-form Debjit Majumder took guard of ATK's fortress, he was assisted in defense by star defenders Tiri and Arnab Mondal and new recruits, Pritam Kotal and Robert Lalthlamuana, The midfield saw ATK veteran and captain Borja Fernandes taking guard with Bikramjit Singh and supported on the wings by Javi Lara and Sameehg Doutie. The main focus was however on the forward line which boasted the likes of Iain Hume - ISL's highest goal scorer and our marquee player, Helder Postiga.
The match started with an even distribution of attack between the two sides, with ATK trying to wedge past Chennai's strong defence with the talented duo of Hume and Postiga, who were continuously assisted by Doutie from the right and Javi Lara from the left.
In the first five minutes itself, ATK managed to win a free kick when Mendy fouled Postiga and a good attempt at goal from Doutie's lob inside the box.
On the other hand, ATk managed to gift Chennai a number of free kicks in the first half due to some loose play and Arne Riise proved his class every time, only to be thwarted by Debjit and the ATK defence from scoring home. On the other half, Mendy continuously shadowed Postiga, so that he gets no room to do any damage. Yet Postiga did manage to keep the Chennaiyin defence on their toes along with Doutie, Lara and Hume.
The match went on from one half to the other and the first 20 minutes saw Chennaiyin managing to get a number of free kicks from good positions and ATK making random bursts inside the opponent's box to create opportunities.
At the 25th minute mark, the possession table read 52% in the favour of Chennai thought ATK had more shots on target.
From the 28th minute onwards, ATK started to shine in all their glory. Helder Postiga, Javi Lara, Sameehg Doutie and Iain Hume all came painfully close to scoring but Chennai managed to survive the scare.
However, un-timed tackles and reaction from Postiga and Pritam Kotal earned both of them a yellow card. By the time it was 45 minutes, ATK had managed to build up a flurry of chances inside the box but had failed to capitalize on anything.
With a last shot at goal, the half came to an end and the scoreline read: ATK 0:0 CHE
First Half stats:
Possession: ATK 51% : 49% CHE
Attacking Index: ATK 61% : 39% CHE
Shots on Goal: ATK 4 : 1 CHE
The second half started and ATK was back in business within a minute as Postiga's accurate shot was saved by Riise at the last moment. The next fifteen minutes saw both the sides trying to break each other's defense with swift runs, corners and free kicks.
The first breakthrough of the match came in the form of ATK's fantastic build-up and goal at the 59th minute mark. Postiga gave a fantastically accurate cross for Doutie to collect just at the edge of the box. He then managed to go past the defender and calmly netted the ball past the flying hands of the keeper to register ATK's first goal of the season.
However, Chennai managed to equalise in just 7 minutes when Jeje sent a pass, past the defensive wall of ATK and Jayesh Rane managed to collect it with just the keeper to beat. Though Debjit tried to deflect the ball away, his touch wasn't enough. Chennai was quick to build up their momentum as within 5 minutes Hans Mulder scored again to give them the lead. His long shot towards goal deflected off the head of Tiri to lodge itself at the back of the net as Debjit was not quick enough to regain ground from his previous position.
With two goals being conceded in quick succession, ATK was hell bent on getting the momentum back. Jose Molina made some swift substitutions with Juan Belencoso and Prabir Das coming in the place of Javi Lara and Robert, respectively. The front trio still continued to build chances for ATK but the Chennai defense was always on their toes. Molina substituted Postiga for Lalrindika Ralte to bring fresh legs in the attack.
The most dramatic moment of the match was when Doutie went down in the penalty box after being pushed from behind by Chennai's Jerry and ATK was awarded a penalty. Iain Hume took position to ensure ATK does equalise. With perfect accuracy and ample experience, he sent the ball to the bottom left corner of the net past the keeper and ATK was back in the 86th minute.
Even though three minutes of injury time was added to the final half, the match finished in a draw.
FT Scoreline: Atletico de Kolkata 2 : 2 Chennaiyin FC
Ball possession: ATK 53% : 47% CHE
Shots on Goal: ATK 9 : 4 CHE
In the after match Awards, ATK bagged three awards:
Club Award: Atletico de Kolkata & Chennaiyin FC
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Sameehg Doutie
Maruti Suzuki Swift Moment of the Match : Helder Postiga
An evenly balanced match saw ATK take away a single point from their first game and a great attacking prowess spearheaded by Postiga and Hume.
Their next match is on the 5th of October at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi against Kerala Blasters.
Till then, keep supporting the team and chant #AamarBukeyATK!