Masterful Chennaiyin outclass ATK to earn invaluable win

Two-time Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) champions, Chennaiyin FC beat ATK FC 3-1 at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Sunday. The visitors, who are chasing a place in the Hero ISL 2019-20 semi-finals, took an early lead through Rafael Crivellaro and doubled it in the 39th minute. Although Roy Krishna managed to immediately pull one back for ATK, the home side failed to add to their tally  thereafter, with Nerijus Valskis scoring late on to seal Chennaiyin’s win.

  • Chennaiyin took the lead through a Rafael Crivellaro goal in the 7th minute.
  • Andre Schembri made it 2-0 to the visitors, six minutes from half-time.
  • ATK immediately hit back with a Roy Krishna goal a minute later.
  • The visitors sealed their win through a Nerijus Valskis goal in second half added time.

After a cautious first five minutes, the match really sprung to life in the 7th minute, with Chennaiyin taking the lead through Crivellaro. Defender Eli Sabia won the ball off ATK’s Krishna near the halfway line, and released Crivellaro who ran at will at the ATK defence and applied a beautiful finish to hand his side the advantage.

Chances were aplenty after that, with Prabir Das, Krishna, Lallianzuala Chhangte and Andre Schembri all having an attempt each in the next ten minutes.

The pace and precision of the visitors’ game plan left ATK rattled, and they had little joy as the match headed past the half an hour mark.

In the 31st minute, Chennaiyin were almost gifted a second goal when ATK defender Sumit Rathi and goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharja failed to properly communicate, forcing Arindam into pulling off a goal-line save from a Rathi back pass.

Two minutes later, Arindam was again called into action, as Chennaiyin midfielder Edwin Vanspaul fired a curling effort that needed parrying away.

In the 39th minute, though, Arindam was at fault as he gifted the Marina Machans their second goal of the match. Midfielder Anirudh Thapa swung in a deep corner that left the ATK goalkeeper in all sorts of bother, enabling Schembri to apply the easiest of headers and make it 2-0 to the visitors.

Their celebrations, however, were cut-short almost immediately as ATK hit back with a three-pass move that found Krishna eyeball-to-eyeball with Vishal Kaith in front of the Chennaiyin goal. The Fijian made no mistake, thus pulling one back for the home side, who went into half-time trailing the visitors 2-1.

Chennaiyin started the second 45 just like the first, and should have restored their two-goal advantage in the 48th minute. Crivellaro unleashed a thundering attempt that was beaten away by Arindam, but found its way right at the feet of Chhangte. The India international had the time and space to take a touch and apply the finish, but his effort was slightly rash, much to the disappointment of his teammates.

The next 15 minutes had an even feel about it, with half chances falling in the way of both outfits. ATK dictated most of the play, as the visitors adopted a more counter-attacking approach. Lucian Goian’s interception in the 72nd minute left Chennaiyin slightly worried, but fortunately for them, the ball didn’t find its way into the net.

ATK kept surging forward and had the ball in the net in the 85th minute. Krishna though, was adjudged to be offside by the linesman, cutting short the home side’s celebrations.

With almost the last kick of the match, Chennaiyin rubber-stamped their win as Valskis lobbed the onrushing Arindam to earn his side the invaluable three points.

Hero of the Match – Edwin Vanspaul

Despite not directly affecting any of Chennaiyin’s goals, Vanspaul was a key reason behind the Marina Machans keeping ATK quiet in their own backyard. He completed 80% of his passes, accounted for four interceptions and successfully completed two tackles.

AWARDS

Club Award – Chennaiyin FC

Maruti Suzuki Limitless Player of the Match – Rafael Crivellaro

DHL Winning Pass of the Match  Anirudh Thapa

ISL Emerging Player of the Match – Jerry Lalrinzuala

Hero of the Match – Edwin Vanspaul

Watch the match highlights here:

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