Ninety minutes of intense play ends in a draw at Chennai
20th November 2016
Venue: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai
Chennaiyin FC Starting XI: Karanjit Singh (GK), Hans Mulder, Bernard Mendy(C), Manuele Blasi, Davide Succi, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Eli Sabia, Raphael Augusto, Zakeer Mundampara, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Jerry Lalrinzuala.
ATK Starting XI: Debjit Majumder (GK), Henrique Fonseca Sereno, Arnab Mondal, Helder Postiga, Borja Fernandez (C), Pritam Kotal, Javier Lara Grande, Juan Belencoso, Lalrindika Ralte, Stephen Paul Pearson, Keegan Pereira.
ATK and Chennaiyin FC had started their campaign together in this ISL 2016 season with a draw at Kolkata. Now it was time for ATK to travel to the land of the defending Champions to solidify their position in the top four of the league table.
As the two former Champions locked horns on the field for the second time this season, it was expected to be an highly entertaining match with ATK coming back after a draw against Northeast United at home and Chennai looking upbeat after defeating FC Pune City at home.
Head coach, Jose Molina fielded his team in the 4-2-3-1 combination with three changes in the Starting line-up. Pritam Kotal replaced Prabir Das at the right back while Keegan Pereira made his debut for ATK while replacing Robert Lalthlamuana at the left back with Arnab Mondal and Henrique Sereno holding their centre back position. The midfield was helmed by captain Borja Fernandez and Stephen Pearson while Lalrindika Ralte and Javi Lara took charge of the two flanks. The forward line saw Juan Belencoso leading the attack in the place of Iain Hume with Helder Postiga supporting him up front. Under the bar was our in-form keeper, Debjit Majumdar.
The match began with ATK going out with full gusto. The very first minute saw Javi Lara aiming for goal only to find the ball being headed away by Mendy for a corner. A fantastic chance arose in the 3rd minute when Ralte's cross found Postiga in the middle, who leapt up to head the ball in but hit the side woodwork instead. The very next minute, Belencoso had a chance when he went above the defender to head the ball towards goal but sent it wide.
Chennai tried to counter-attack with Jeje and Zakeer attempting to hit home from distance but missing their chances. In the 10th minute, Debjit made a wonderful save when he fisted away Mulder's powerful close range shot to safety.
The next few minutes saw Chennai trying to get past the ATK defenders only to be thwarted over and over again. Pearson and Postiga had chances when they tried to head in crosses from Javi Lara in two different occasions only to miss the target each time. By the 18th minute, the attacking index read 64% in the favour of ATK.
In the 22nd minute, Chennai's main striker Jeje had to be substituted after picking up an injury. In the 27th minute, ATK again had a good chance at goal when Kotal's cross found Postiga who headed the ball towards Pearson but the latter's shot got blocked. By the 32nd minute, the attacking index still read 54% in the favour of ATK to Chennai's 46%.
The crowning moment of the match for ATK came in the 39th minute from the brilliance of our marquee player, Helder Postiga. Javi Lara sent the ball towards Pritam Kotal along the right wing who sent in a wonderful cross inside the penalty box. Postiga leaped up above the other players and headed the ball towards the left bottom corner of the goal without any glitch to give ATK the lead.
Chennai aimed to make a comeback as Daniel tried to send a through pass towards Succi only to find a sliding Sereno coming to the rescue. With two minutes added to the first half, ATK got a last chance at goal from a free kick. Javi Lara took position and sent a curling shot towards goal only to find Karanjit fisting it away to safety.
With that, the first half came to an end and the scoreline read:
Half Time: Chennaiyin FC 0:1 Atletico de Kolkata
Jose Molina made a substitution at the beginning of the second half with Bidyananda Singh taking position in the place of Lalrindika Ralte. The very first minute saw Pearson racing in with the ball past the Chennai defenders and sending it inside the box but it found no recipient and was collected by Chennai.
Chennai came back strongly with their midfielders and strikers trying to find loopholes. Zakeer tried to send in a long distance shot while Wadoo's pass was seen away by Arnab Mondal. In the 52nd minute, Henrique Sereno encountered a nasty clash while trying to defend a corner and was in immense pain. He had to be substituted for his injury and Kingshuk Debnath, who made his first appearance for ATK this season, took position.
ATK continued to build chances at the other end. Javi Lara's cross found Borja whose header went just over the net while Kotal's cross for Postiga saw the defenders intercepting it midway. On the other half, Chennai continued to press forward with the likes of Succi and Wadoo making great passes inside the box only to find no recipient. By the 62nd minute, the attacking index read 59% in the favour of Chennai.
ATK had chances when Bidyananda, Lara, Pearson and Postiga all attempted to take a shot at goal only to find the ball getting deflected off every time to eventually land in the hands of Chennai's keeper.The next 10 minutes was a complete Chennai show as they thronged the ATK defence. While Mendy's header was mis-directed, Arnab Mondal came in the forefront to defend away two Chennaiyin advances. The 71st minute saw Chennai almost equalising but Succi hit the side netting of an open goal to waste the opportunity.
In the 73rd minute, Ofentse Nato replaced Postiga to bring more depth and power in the defensive line-up. However the 77th minute saw two different emotions for ATK. The very minute Debjit made a fantastic save to fist away a deflected ball towards goal, the same minute Succi equalised for Chennai through a header from a right flank cross.
The remaining 15 minutes saw both Chennai and ATK pulling every stop to snatch away another goal and the full three points. While Javi Lara had a chance from a free kick, Chennai's Succi, Blasi and Raphael continue to send in powerful shots towards goal only to miss the target or find the Debjit barrier.
Four minutes of injury time added to the final half failed to produce any further goals, and with a final blow of the whistle the match ended.
Full Time: Chennaiyin FC 1:1 Atletico de Kolkata
Possession: CHE 56%:44% ATK
Shots on Goal: CHE 4:2 ATK
Passing accuracy: CHE 74%:67% ATK
Interceptions: CHE 9:11 ATK
Crosses: CHE 21:17 ATK
In the after match Awards, ATK bagged two awards:
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Javi Lara
Swift Moment of the Match : Debjit Majumdar
Helder Postiga was adjudged as the Fans' Player of the Match for his brilliant display on field.
The away draw ensured that ATK took away a point from the match which lifts them to the third position from the 5th on the ISL League table, just behind Mumbai City FC and Delhi Dynamos.
The next match will be ATK's last away match of the season, where they will face FC Goa in the surroundings of Fatorda on 24th November.
Till then, keep supporting the team and chant #AamarBukeyATK!