Chennaiyin FC 2-3 ATK
KICK-OFF: Dec. 2, 7.30PM IST (GMT +5.30), Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai.
Channel; Streaming: Star Sports HD1, Star Sports 1, Star Sports 3; Hotstar, Jio TV.
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Defending champions Chennaiyin FC host ATK at the Marina Arena in a bid to restore some credibility to their campaign. Chennaiyin only managed a point in their previous game against Kerala Blasters in a match they should’ve easily won. Going into tonight’s game, the Brazilian Raphael Augusto will be the focal point of attack and Chennai will hope Jeje rediscovers his scoring touch.
ATK are in striking distance of the play-off positions if they are consistent going into the next few games. They held FC Goa to a commendable draw in their previous encounter in a match where ATK had their chances only to be denied by the FC Goa keeper Mohammad Nawaz.
The Kolkata side had a decent run in November and put together a win and a couple of draws. However, they’ve only scored seven goals in nine matches this season. The burden of goalscoring will fall on the attacking midfielder Manuel Lanzarote and the Brazilian forward Everton Santos. They will also hope Eli Babalj who was signed to replace the injured Emiliano Alfaro and Kalu Uche comes good tonight.
Chennaiyin will have to chip away at a miserly ATK defence to get close to a goal. The ATK side have only conceded eight goals and have one of the meanest defences in the league with John Johnson at the helm. To add to that, the Chennaiyin strikeforce of Carlos Salom and Jeje haven’t made an impact this season with a return of one goal from eight appearances apiece.
The reverse fixture earlier in the season saw ATK pick up all three points at the Salt Lake Stadium. That being said, both teams are relatively strong defensively and a single goal from either team should get them a win, but there is also a real danger of the teams cancelling each out and the match ending in a draw.
FULL-TIME: Chennaiyin FC 2-3 ATK
88′ – GOAL! 2-3 (Isaac V., Assist: Thoi Singh, Chennaiyin)
80′ – GOAL! 1-3 (M. Lanzarote, Penalty, ATK)
44′ – GOAL! 1-2 (M. Lanzarote, Penalty, ATK)
24′ – GOAL! 1-1 (Thoi Singh, Assist: Mailson, Chennaiyin)
14′ – GOAL! 0-1 (Jayesh Rane, Assist: Hitesh Sharma, ATK)
Chennaiyin: Tondonba Singh (46′ for Jerry L.); Anirudh Thapa (58′ for Jeje Lalpekhlua); Carlos Salom (58′ for Andrea Orlandi).
ATK: Everton Santos (68′ for N. El Maimouni); Eli Babalj (82′ for Manuel Lanzarote); Eugeneson Lyngdoh (82′ for Balwant Singh).
ATK trumped over Chennaiyin FC tonight to move within striking distance of a play-off spot. The game started brightly with both teams creating good chances to score. Chennaiyin had a great opportunity as early as in the seventh minute when Raphael Augusto setup Andrea Orlandi in space 12 yards from goal only for the Spanish attacking midfielder to shoot wide.
Chennaiyin were left rueing the miss when Jayesh Rane opening the scoring for ATK when the former Chennaiyin player unleashed a great strike from outside the box.
Thoi Singh, the top goalscorer for Chennaiyin this season levelled the scores soon after. The veteran latched onto a ball by Mailson just inside the box and finished it past the keeper.
The man of the match Lanzarote was at his best tonight twisting and turning the Chennaiyin defence and finding players with his passing range at will. Late in the first half, he setup Hitesh Sharma in the box who took a shot on goal, but the ball was handled by the Chennai defender Eli Sabia. The referee called for a penalty and Lanzarote stepped up to put the Kolkata side ahead.
Chennaiyin had a couple of great chances early in the second half, but failed to convert. Late in the second half, they conceded another penalty for another handball in the box this time by Carlos Salom. Lanzarote stepped up to convert the penalty and helped ATK to a two-goal cushion in the 80th minute.
The game was far from settled though. Chennaiyin pulled one back when Isaac Vanmalsawma scored from a Thoi Singh assist. With the score now 3-2 in favour of ATK, Chennaiyin threw the kitchen sink in, but ATK held on to finish the match on a high.
With the win, ATK are in fifth position and level on points with Jamshedpur in fourth who are above on goal difference. They will play next against Northeast United in Guwahati on Saturday, Dec. 8.