In the first leg of the second semi-final of the Indian Super League, Chennaiyin registered an emphatic 3-0 win over Atletico Kolkata at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium in Pune on Saturday. The big win has given the south Indian outfit a massive advantage in the tie as they attempt to book their place in the summit clash.
Chennaiyin started the match brightly and forced the Atletico Kolkata goalkeeper Amrinder Singh into a double save in only the second minute of the clash. Chennaiyin FC, who lined-up in 4-3-3 formation, were a constant threat for the reigning ISL champions and had their deserved lead in the 38th minute of the match when Bruno Pelissari scored from a free-kick.
Kolkata were dealt a blow as their skipper and one of their standout players of the current campaign, Borja Fernandez, had to be substituted off three minutes before the half time whistle. Borja had been the driving force for the ISL champions from his position in defensive midfield and his departure didn’t bode well for his side.
Jeje Lalpekhlua doubled the lead in the 57th minute, while league’s top scorer Stiven Mendoza scored the third in the 68th minute to leave Kolkata a mountain to climb in the second leg on Wednesday at the Salt Lake Stadium.
Chennaiyin have all but done the job in this tie and unless they play horrendously in the second leg, they are all but through to the summit clash. The loss of Borja was a severe blow for Kolkata as his work rate and understanding of the match situation is unmatched.
Kolkata will need to play exceptionally well and start the game at a blistering pace in order to have any chance of getting a shot at retaining the trophy they won last term. An early goal from Kolkata on Wednesday can sow the seeds of doubt in Chennaiyin and make the hosts believe. They will undoubtedly be buoyed by the frenetic support of their faithful, but a lot more than just support will be required if they are to overhaul Chennaiyin’s imposing advantage.