It was a bit of a surprise that we had to wait till the dying minutes of the the first half to see the first goal go in. It is unclear what Jose Molina told his team at half time but the visitors came out expecting to try and find a goal and, after the hour mark, they dropped back and were defending deep. It is always unrealistic to expect the other side not to find a way through for such a long time and that is exavtly what happened when Chennaiyin FC equalized through Davide Succi. Atletico clearly settled for the point after that, Chennaiyin could not find a way through both sides ended with a point each.
“It has been important,” was the longest answer that Materazzi gave in his press conference in Chennai before the match. He was talking about his side’s win against FC Pune City in the previous match.
Atletico de Kolkata coach Jose Molina, on the other hand, is “absolutely confident” that his side will qualify for the semi-finals of Hero Indian Super League but is well aware that “anything could happen.”
The former champions are placed fifth with 14 points from 10 matches and now meet sixth-placed Chennaiyin FC in a 11th round match at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai, on Sunday. Atletico de Kolkata have never lost to Chennaiyin FC in a league game. Their only loss was last season when they bowed out against Chennaiyin FC in the semi-finals but it’s not the past that gives Molina the confidence.
“It’s not about Chennaiyin FC or us (fighting for the fourth spot). All teams are very close. From yesterday’s result between Delhi and Pune (which Pune won 4-3), it’s more closer. Four matches are still left to be played and I think anything can happen. No team can say they will be in semi-finals. We are confident but we have to fight,” Molina said at the pre-match media briefing.
Asked if his team’s past records against Chennaiyin FC gave him confidence that he can navigate a positive result against the hosts, the Spanish coach instead pointed to the present.
“I am absolutely confident. All of us are absolutely confident in the possibilities of our chances. I am absolutely confident in my team, my players, the way we are playing,” he said.
Defending champions Chennaiyin FC rescued their campaign with a win against FC Pune City in the previous game and will now feel confident they can grab a place among the top four. Marco Materazzi’s side had gone five matches without a win, their worst run in the ISL, but the Pune win has boosted confidence.
Chennaiyin FC are unbeaten in their last four home matches. After conceding three goals in their first home match against Delhi Dynamos, Chennaiyin have conceded only one goal in their last four matches and accrued eight out of their 13 points at home. Only Delhi Dynamos (10) and Kerala Blasters (10) have won more points at home this season.
Interestingly, Chennaiyin FC have kept three clean sheets at home, the most by any home team and their defence has been rock steady, conceding just four goals in five matches.
The defence, though, will be under pressure against Atletico de Kolkata as it comes up against Canadian striker Iain Hume, the leading goal scorer in ISL history. Hume started the season slowly scoring both his first goals from penalties in the first phase. But just like ISL 2015, he found form in the second half of the campaign and scored in each of his last three matches.
3′ gone Chennaiyin FC 0-0 ATK
The cross came in from the left fot ATK and Helder Postiga rose and met it with a header. It hit the post on the bottom of the goal and went outside for a goal kick. Chennaiyin FC got away with that one
10′ gone, the scores are level and that is because of ATK goalkeeper Debjeet. Mulder struck the ball from the edge of the box and it was as sweet a connection as it could get. The ball got a reverse swing because of the pace and Debjeet dived in the right direction to palm it away. It has been a frantic start to the match. Both teams have had more than a few shots on goal already.
15′ gone, Chennaiyin FC 0-0 ATK
It is difficult to say which is the better team at the moment. Both sides are pressing well and not letting the opposition have too much time on the ball and are having a go even when they see the smallest of gaps. The Marina arena has created quite an atmosphere here.
20′ Jeje limbering off the field. This doesn’t look good for the home side as the Indian top scorer has only just been finding his form. It seems he might be replaced though. He does get replaced and the 19-year-old Daniel comes on.
23′ Debjeet looking unhappy with his defenders when he managed to collect the ball after Daniel touched it forward in order to get a start on the man marking him. He stumbled and was second to the ball.
25′ gone, Chennaiyin FC 0-0 ATK
Succi managed to completely flummox his marker on the left and put in a cross. It was handled by the Kolkata goalkeepers. ATK are playing with four men in the back at the moment and it is difficult to break that.
30′ gone, Chennaiyin FC 0-0 Atletico de Kolkata
Both teams have slowed down after the flurry of shots that came in the first 15 minutes. Not a surprise then that the number of shots taken has also reduced. Keegan Pereira becomes the first to be booked after he hits Succi on the knee with his studs. It was studs up and a dangerous challenge and deserved a yellow at the least.
GOAL!! Chennaiyin FC 0-1 Atletico de Kolkata (39′ Postiga)
Pritam Kotal with a pin point cross from the right. Helder Postiga was there in the box and he heads it in the same direction he did earlier, this time, it hits the back of the net instead of the post. Chennaiyin fans were making din until now and they have been silenced for the moment.
HALF TIME!! Chennaiyin FC 0-1 Atletico de Kolkata
It is set up well for the second half. Chennaiyin FC matched their opponents step for step in the first half but the cross from Pritam Kotal was perfect and so was Helder Postiga timing of the jump. Marco Materazzi has cut a frustrated figure and he won’t be happy with the fact that he lost Jeje halfway through the first 45.
50′ First real chance in the half as Wadoo sent in a cross from the right. Succi was waiting in the moddle but Mondal gets there first and puts it out for a corner.
55′ gone Chennaiyin FC 0-1 Atletico de Kolkata
Javi Lara made a delivery from the corner kick and Borja Fernandes headed it over the top. Atletico have an all Indian back line now as Sereno has been stretchered off for Kinshuk Debnath.
61′ gone, Chennaiyin FC 0-1 Atletico de Kolkata
Chennaiyin are pushing for the goal now as they should. Little over half an hour left in the match and they find themselves still trailing. A neutral would be hoping for an ATK victory though, just because of that all Indian back line.
65′ Zakir made a good delivery from the free kick and Bernard Mendy gets at the end of it. His header, goes wide. That would be a disappointment for him as it was as good a delivery as it gets from Zakir.
68′ 19-year-old Daniel showed what he is made of when he turned around to avoid the defender coming sliding in. It was a slick piece of skill and Daniel was off on the left. He sends a ball in that is cleared. Just a minute later, he twisted and turned to get the shot in. It was cleared off for a corner. The crowd loving this boy.
70′ gone Chennaiyin FC 0-0 ATK
Succi took a touch to take the ball away from the goalkeeper but it also took the ball to a tight angle with the goal. he took the shot and it hits the side netting.
GOAL!! Chennaiyin FC 1-1 ATK (Succi 76′)
It has been coming, Chennaiyin have continuously been hitting the ATK defence with attacks and it was Davide Succi whose header puts them on level terms. ATK have dropped off and paid the price.
83′ gone Chennaiyin FC 1-1 ATK
Both sides are making misplaced passes and giving the ball away cheaply. ATK seem to have settled for the draw as they have let most of their players drop back which has given Chennayin the freedom to bring even their centre halfs forward.
FULL TIME!! Chennaiyin FC 1-1 Atletico de Kolkata
Chennaiyin pressed and pressed in the second half and they got the equaliser. They would have certainly liked a winner but that was not to be. In the end, Atletico de Kolkata will be the happier side with the result as they go third because of their goal difference. Chennaiyin FC remain sixth on the league table. That’s that and we will be back on Tuesday.