The champions dropped two points after giving away a penalty late in the game…

Chennaiyin FC Head Coach Marco Materazzi cut a satisfied figure following his team’s 2-2 draw against Atlético de Kolkata in their Indian Super League opener at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium in Kolkata on Sunday.

ATK’s Sameehg Doutie scored the opening goal of the match but the 2014 winners were pegged back before long as Jayesh Rane and Hans Mulder put Chennaiyin FC ahead in the blink of an eye. Just when it looked like the Super Machans were going to clinch the match, Iain Hume scored from the penalty spot – four minutes from time – to deny the defending champions a win.

Materazzi spoke to the media post the match and expressed satisfaction at his team’s showing. “So it was a good game. I’m very happy with my guys because we were losing 1-0 and then they kept together and earned a lead. The penalty was hard to tell, but the referee said it was a penalty so it was a penalty. The only thing I regret is the guy [Jerry Lalrinzuala] who caused the penalty is only 19 years old and it was due to a lack of experience,” the Italian said.

When asked if there was an area he thought his team needed to improve in, Materazzi said: “So there is always something to improve, otherwise the game would have ended 3-0. Last year, we lost 3-2 [to ATK in the league opener], and you know when you face Kolkata, it’s going to be a great game. They have great strikers, they play good football.”

Materazzi also replied in the negative when asked if being defending champions puts extra pressure on them. “No I don’t think it’s much pressure because we are the defending champions. I would rather have this pressure than be obsessed about winning the league. If you keep on training hard, you see the results. We don’t have [Stiven] Mendoza who can score by himself but we have shown today that anybody can score, like Jayesh had many chances. Also Davide Succi had many chances. I’m happy about it. It shows the team is playing well and many can score. If the team remains compact than I am happy with this,” he opined.

The 2006 World Cup-winning Italian felt that the standard of the pitch, which took a beating due to pre-match rain, was alright, but he missed the Kolkata crowd he’s used to at the Salt Lake Stadium from the previous seasons. “The pitch was good. The only thing I regret is that we don’t have an amazing crowd from last year. But it’s for a good reason that they are preparing for the U-17 FIFA World Cup and everything is okay”, he concluded.

Report by Khel Now Correspondent Rony. Sports passionate and content writer. He is big football and cricket fan.