Chennai host Kolkata as playoffs race heats up in ISL
Both teams need a win to reestablish themselves in the top four...
Chennaiyin FC will hope to win back-to-back Indian Super League games for the first time in one month when they host fellow bottom half club and former champions Atletico de Kolkata at Marina Arena on Sunday night. Knowing a win is crucial, especially with the league stages heading toward culmination, either side will be desperate to claim the other’s scalp.
Coming off a morale-boosting home 2-0 win against FC Pune City, the Marina Machans are desperate to emerge victors in front of the loyal Marina Arena faithful again. With manager Marco Materazzi finally inventing a match-winning system that capitalizes on talisman Raphael Augusto’s strengths, producing a fine performance against Kolkata is almost a certainty in the event of the players bringing his brainchild to life; however, the result can go either way, much like any other ISL game.
The Bengal Tigers currently sit fifth, one place above Sunday’s hosts. Heading into the game at the back of three winless ISL outings, they will be keen to collect maximum points, especially since the winners of the Clash of the Champions will catapult themselves to the playoff spots, displacing fourth-placed Pune City.
Maurizio Peluso, who was impressive in the 1-1 home draw with Mumbai City FC, may sit out the game, with the team finally finding the winning formula in his absence. Other notable absentees may include Dudu Omagbemi, Jayesh Rane, Duwayne Kerr, John Arne Riise and Eli Sabia Filho. Accordingly, Chennaiyin will likely name an unchanged line-up from the spectacular performance against the Stallions.
As for Kolkata, Sameegh Doutie (hamstring) is the only major concern as coach Jose Molina otherwise has a fully fit squad to choose from. With the team struggling to find the winning goal, they shall make a few changes to the line-up as failing to win may prove costly.
Head to Head
As consistent title contenders these two teams have seen a lot of each other. Out of the seven games between them ATK hold a clear edge with three wins to Chennai’s one. There have also been three draws. When they met earlier in the season it ended in a 2-2 stalemate.
Man to Watch
Jeje Lalpekhlua-Chennaiyin FC: Jeje Lalpekhlua has been largely underused, with off-form Dudu getting the nod ahead of him more often than not. However, given his perfect chemistry with Davide Succi – they both combined to claim two goals and one assist on Tuesday night – he shall retain his place in the starting line-up. Directly involved in five goals in six starts, he has already enjoyed a stellar season, and the onus will be on the 25-year-old striker to assist Brazilian Augusto in collecting assists.
Javi Lara-Atletico de Kolkata: Ian Hume has been Kolkata’s go-to man for goals, with Kolkata being the second best attacking unit, behind league leaders Delhi Dynamos; however, Javi Lara has been equally, if not, more impressive than the ISL Hero of the League 2014 winner. Should he operate as a right midfielder – as he did in the 1-1 draw with NorthEast United FC – youngster Jerry Lalrinzuala may need to play at his absolute best to ensure the Blues do not suffer much in the defending half.
Chennaiyin FC: Karanjit; Wadoo, Mendy, Eder, Jerry; Mundampara, Blasi, Mulder, Augusto; Jeje, Succi
Atletico de Kolkata: Majumder; Lalthlamuana, Das, Mondal, Sereno, Pearson, Javi Lara, Borja, Ralte, Hume, Postiga
The match will be telecast live on Star Sports 2, Star Sports HD2, Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD1, Star Gold, Star Gold HD, Jalsha Movies, Jalsha Movies HD, and Hotstar.
You can also follow Khel Now’s live text commentary of the game, with our ISL correspondent Praveen R. Paramasivam reporting things as they happen from Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Photo © ISL Media
Preview by Khel Now Correspondent from Chennai Praveen R. Paramasivam
Published: Sat Nov 19, 2016 10:06 PM IST