Chennaiyin FC hosted the 44th match of ISL 2016 against Atletico de Kolkata at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai and what a game it was!! After witnessing two of the most scored games on Friday and Saturday, viewers were expected a treat in this one too and that is what they got.

This match between Chennaiyin FC and Atletico de Kolkata won’t be remembered as the game where many goals were scored rather it would be remembered as the game where both the teams showed that football is not always about increasing the scoresheet.

Chennaiyin FC had the momentum from their last win against FC Pune City while Atletico de Kolkata was confident enough after their last match draw against NorthEast United. Both the teams were searching for a win to cement their playoff chances and the resultant performance by the teams was enough to prove ‘Football as a Religion’.

The game fell into rhythm as both the sides were not giving the opposition a chance to spend time with the ball and the resultant play was end-to-end. Kolkata’s attacking and Chennai’s marking made the game more fierce and for the first time in ISL 2016, the crowd was supporting both the sides.

Chennaiyin FC got the first chance at the goal after the 10-minute mark when Jeje Lalpekhlua received Raphael Augusto pass and superbly played it for Hans Mulder to have a go. However, the ball needed a fingertip save from the Majumdar to keep it out.

Kolkata was not letting Chennaiyin FC advance with the ball and forced them to try their luck with long shots. Both teams were making advances down the right flanks and Javi Lara was having a ball with his marker Jerry Lalrinzuala, while Keegan was struggling to handle Mehrajuddin Wadoo.

Atletico de Kolkata scored the opener in the 39th minute when Pritam Kotal and Javi Lara made space on the right and shot the ball into the box. Postiga out-jumped Wadoo and his header was enough to rest the ball into the far corner.

Chennaiyin FC didn’t lose the composer after Kolkata’s lead and defended their post with ultimate focus till the stoppage time.

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At the half time whistle by the referee, Atletico de Kolkata was leading the game by 1-0.

In the 56th minute, Davide Succi cleared his path for a pass from Zakeer, but his marker forced him wide resulting in a wide-angled shot, but more could have come off for Chennaiyin FC if Daniel would have started his run little earlier.

Image Courtesy: ISL

Kolkata dominated the rest of the second half with their attack but in the 77th minute Chennai moved forward with valor and notched their game to the next level to score an equaliser. Pearson made a rookie error when the ball was coming towards Kolkata’s side and he let his guard down. Sabia playfully bullied him and passed the ball towards Succi. The latter made no mistake and took the game to 1-1.

For the rest of the match, both teams were content with defending their stands and the match ended in a 1-1 draw. The crowd applauded both the teams and showered them with respect for showing the world, what actual football looks like.

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21 November 2016
Rohan Jaitly

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