Chennaiyin FC lose to ATK at the Salt Lake Stadium
Two early goals from Kalu Uche and John Johnson ensured a victory for ATK against a struggling Chennaiyin FC side. The crown holders scored in the 17th minute through Carlos Salom but were unable to build on their first and only counterclaim, thus falling victim to another dismal defeat.
They piled pressure constantly, enjoyed their fair share of chances and dominated possession, but couldn’t pull off a victory. Perhaps, because the confidence factor crept in.
The defending champions started the game positively, but in no time shot themselves in the foot by gifting an opener to Kalu Uche. Karanjit Singh incautiously played the ball to Gerson, who won the header and set Uche free. The forward was never in doubt from that position.
Matters went from bad to worse for the travelling fans as Lanzarote, who wasn’t quite involved in the previous game, threatened big time on this occasion. He created a chance for the goal-scorer and just a minute later, curled his left-footer onto the far side. John Johnson rose high above the rest to double ATK’s lead.
The visitors strung a number of passes together, pressed in numbers and committed bodies together right from the word go. Their determination and work ethic paid off as Carlos Salom brought them back in with a stopgap. However, the closer chances fell to ATK.
Lanzarote once again tricked the Chennai defence by dummying the ball towards Aibor Khongjee, who crossed it to Komal. His scuffed shot proved to be a lifeline for a Chennaiyin side still clawing their way back into the match. Meanwhile, Pronay Halder went in for a reckless, harsh challenge on Augusto. While it easily could have been a sending off, the midfielder was shown yellow.
Orlandi then played a teasing ball into the box, but neither Anirudh Thapa nor Salom could provide the tap-in. Moments later, Balwant’s swivelled strike forced Karanjit to make another save. Clearly, he was the busier of two goalkeepers.
Everton Santos kickstarted the second half in stunning fashion, carrying the ball over almost 70 yards before being shut down. In the 56th minute, Salom missed a golden chance to cut down the deficit and double his tally. He tried finding the far corner with a flary finish but missed the target.
ATK tried to circulate possession as much as possible but were being shut down by an energetic Chennaiyin forward line.
Lanzarote was having a feast in the middle as he was almost everywhere. From crosses to the curlers, his left foot was causing a number of problems to the opposition. Apart from one odd free-kick where he saw his shot sail over the frame of the nets, the 34-year-old looked dangerous every time he got on to the ball.
Gregory Nelson almost became super sub when he headed the ball on goal. However, Bhattacharya was equal to it. A few nerves started to show in the final stages as ATK lost the ball carelessly in midfield.
Their forward Uche could have put the game to bed in the 84th minute, but his chip was just atop the crossbar.
A flurry of chances fell to Chennai in the dying stages of the game but the hosts kept their cool and registered their first win at home in the 5th season of ISL.
What’s next for Chennaiyin FC?
ATK will be looking to capitalize on their home victory and turn this ground into a fortress when they take on the high-flying Bengaluru FC on 31st October. The struggle continues for Chennaiyin FC this season who would be aiming to bag the first three points against Mumbai City FC on Saturday.