Former champions Chennaiyin and ATK on collision course
Chennaiyin FC will roll out the red carpet for fellow two-time Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) champions ATK in what promises to be an intriguing contest at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday.
Clashes between the two sides have historically been high-scoring affairs, with 38 goals equally split between the two in 12 matches.
With just one point from their two outings so far in Hero ISL 2019-20, Chennaiyin will be eager to get their campaign off and running with a home win against ATK. John Gregory's men found themselves beaten convincingly away by Goa before holding Mumbai City FC to a goalless draw at home in their second outing.
The improvement in defence in the second match as compared to the first match against Goa, will be undoubtedly encouraging but the likes of Lucian Goian, Masih Saighani, Eli Sabia, Dhanpal Ganesh and others will have their work cut out for them against an ATK frontline which found their groove and shipped five past Hyderabad in their last match.
The big concern for Gregory will, however, be on the final third. The team has been unable to score in their last five matches since last season and are yet to find the net this season. To be fair, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Rafael Crivellaro, Dragos Firtulescu and Andre Schembri showed plenty of promise against Mumbai and created quite a few chances, but the final bit of ruthlessness has been missing. Gregory may opt to try out Nerijus Valskis against ATK from the get go. The Lithuanian had some bright moments after coming off the bench against Mumbai, and Chennaiyin fans will hope he can be the solution to their scoring woes, at least until Jeje Lalpekhlua regains full fitness.
Antonio Lopez Habas' side were unlucky to have lost their first match of their season against Kerala Blasters FC, squandering multiple opportunities, but showcased some fine attacking intent against Hyderabad with a 5-0 win. Australian striker David Williams was the star of the show with a brace and an assist to set up his strike partner Roy Krishna. Edu Garcia, too, staked his claim for a place in the starting XI with two strikes after coming on the bench. With a wealth of attacking options at his disposal like Michael Soosairaj, Komal Thatal, Javier Hernandez, and others, Habas has a pleasant dilemma when it comes to choosing his first team.
After the somewhat shaky defensive display against Kerala, a clean sheet against Hyderabad will also go a long way when it comes to bolstering the backline's confidence going into Wednesday's tie. Prabir Das, in particular, was impressive against Hyderabad and was influential on both halves of the pitch.
Chennaiyin FC: Vishal Kaith (GK), Lucian Goian, Eli Sabia, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Tondonba Singh, Dhanpal Ganesh, Anirudh Thapa, Dragos Firtulescu, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Rafael Crivellaro, Nerijus Valskis
ATK: Arindam Bhattacharja (GK), Pritam Kotal, Carl McHugh, Agustin Iniguez, Prabir Das, Pronay Halder, Jayesh Rane, Edu Garcia, Michael Soosairaj, David Williams, Roy Krishna
Did you know?
- Chennaiyin are on a 5-match winless run (lost 3 and drawn 2) and haven’t managed to score in any of these five.
- ATK could not win back to back matches last season.
- ATK scored just 18 goals last season (second lowest) while Chennaiyin scored 16 goals (lowest) in the league.
Can Chennaiyin’s defend keep ATK’s star strikers at bay?
Have your say in the comments section below.
Live broadcast schedule:
Hero ISL 2019-20 Match 11: Chennaiyin FC vs ATK
Time: 7:30 PM onwards, October 30
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Hotstar and Jio TV