Succi’s header earns Chennaiyin a point against ATK
Chennaiyin FC came from behind to draw 1-1 against Atlético de Kolkata in front of almost 25,000 fans at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Sunday evening. Helder Postiga’s first-half header was cancelled out by another header from Davide Succi in the second period as the teams played out their second draw of Hero Indian Super League 2016 following a 2-2 result in Kolkata earlier in the season..
The visitors had the first chance of the evening and were unlucky not to have taken the lead inside three minutes. Lalrindika Ralte put in a dangerous ball from the left into the six-yard box, which Postiga headed onto the post as the hosts survived an early scare.
Chennai’s first shot on goal came two minutes later with their top-scorer Jeje Lalpekhlua’s strike from outside the penalty area narrowly missing the target. Before long Hans Mulder forced Debjit Majumder into a quality save as the ATK shot-stopper tipped the Dutchman’s effort on goal over the crossbar for a corner. The home side started seeing more of the ball with the game settling down but they suffered a setback in the 20th minute after star striker Lalpekhlua had to come off due to injury.
The breakthrough eventually came six minutes before half-time after Javi Lara found Pritam Kotal with space on the right. Kotal’s pin-point cross into the box was headed into goal in emphatic fashion by Postiga to give Kolkata a 1-0 lead heading into the break.
Succi had Chennai’s first attempt on goal in the second period after a defence splitting pass in the 56th minute put the Italian in behind ATK’s defence. His shot from a tight angle, however, went wide of the target to the disappointment of the home support.
Chennai should have been level in the 66th minute when a quality free-kick from the right by Zakeer Mundampara made its way to an unmarked Bernard Mendy inside the six-yard box. The robust Frenchman’s header though flew disappointingly over Kolkata’s goal.
Succi had another opportunity to score an equaliser after a low cross from the right had ATK’s backline at sixes and sevens in the 71st minute. The Italian picked up a loose ball following Majumder’s failed attempt at collecting the cross before sending his effort into the side netting.
Mundampara then went close five minutes later through a deflected shot from range that forced Majumder into a save. The Super Machans equalised from their next attack with Eli Sabia retrieving a corner before crossing into the danger area. This time Succi made no mistake as his header hit the back of the net, making it 1-1 with 13 minutes to play.
Chennai piled on the pressure in the last 10 minutes desperate for a late winner. Manuele Blasi rifled a shot from distance two minutes from full-time but the Italian’s shot was wide of the target and failed to test Majumder in goal.
Succi had the last chance of the game soon after courtesy of a lay-off by Raphael Augusto to the Italian striker. His shot goal-wards, however, was always on the rise and flew above the frame of the goal as both sides settled for a point.
Club award: Shared by both clubs
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Javi Lara
DHL Winning Pass of the Match: Eli Sabia
Maruti Suzuki Swift Moment of the Match: Debjit Majumder
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Zakeer Mundampara
Hero of the Match: Davide Succi