Atletico de Kolkata will miss Nato with injury while Chennaiyin FC will miss out on Dhanchandra Singh….
Champions of the inaugural season Atlético de Kolkata kick-start their 2016 Indian Super League campaign against reigning champions Chennaiyin FC at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium in Kolkata today.
The Sourav Ganguly co-owned franchise Atletico De Kolkata who were the champions of the first edition of the ISL were the semi-finalists last season while the Abhishek Bachchan and MS Dhoni co-owned franchise emerged champions.
Team News: Atletico De Kolkata will miss the services of one of their midfield generals Ofentse Nato who sustained a hamstring injury during the pre-season in Madrid and is yet to recover while defender Pablo Gallardo will miss the whole edition due to a broken ligament and a replacement is yet to be named. Spaniard Borja Fernandes will lead Atletico De Kolkata in the first game. Stephen Pearson and Bikramjit Singh are expected to start for the men in Red and White.
On the other hand, Chennaiyin FC will miss the services of left-back Dhanachandra Singh due to an injury he sustained in the training camp in Italy. The 29-year-old is an integral part of the Blues setup having played a total of 26 matches for the franchise in the last two years. He is also the only defender to have scored a goal in each of the first two editions of the ISL. In his absence, Nallapan Mohanraj, who belongs to the state of Tamil Nadu, will deputise in the left-back position against his former club.
Head-to-head: The two sides have faced each other six times in the past two seasons with ATK boasting a better record of three wins to Chennaiyin’s one. Hero ISL 2015 saw Kolkata inflict three defeats on Chennai with one 3-2 win and two 2-1 victories. However, the only Chennaiyin FC win in the first leg of last year’s semi-final against ATK is perhaps the most telling result of them all, given that its 3-0 margin set up a virtually unassailable deficit for ATK to overcome in the second leg. The two meetings between these two sides in Hero ISL 2014 ended in 1-1 and 0-0 draws.
Player to Watch
Atlético de Kolkata : Iain Hume- One of Hero ISL’s biggest names, Iain Hume enters the third edition of the league on the back of an 11-goal season for ATK. The Canadian striker will be raring to go again with the happy memories of his first home goal for Kolkata coming against Chennaiyin FC last season. He also netted a left-footed screamer in the second leg of the semis against the Super Machans last year and will be hoping to add to his already handsome goal tally against the southern outfit.
Chennaiyin FC: Jeje Lalpekhlua- The highest scoring Indian in the history of the league, Lalpekhlua will have to have a big season for the Super Machans this year if they are to retain their title. He enters his third season with the southern-outfit with the added responsibility of being their main goalscorer. The 25-year-old will be looking to give his side the perfect start against ATK on Sunday as he looks to better his tally of six goals and three assists from last year. Jeje will also be looking to get his name on the score sheet against ATK again just as he did in Chennai’s 3-0 win in the first leg of the semis last year.
Atletico De Kolkata (4-2-3-1)-Debjit Majumdar, Kotal, Mondal, Tiri, Robert, Pearson, Borja, Dika, Doutie, Hume, Postiga.
Chennaiyin FC (3-5-2)- Karanjit, Riise, Mendy, Eder, Wadoo, Mohanraj, Khabra, Augusto, Blasi, Jeje, Succi.
Broadcast: The match will be teleacast live on Star Sports 2, HD2, Star Sports 1 , HD1, Star Gold, Star Gold HD, Jalsha Movies, Jalsha Movies HD and Hotstar. You can also follow Live text commentary of the game on Khelnow.com.
Match Preview by Khel Now Correspondent Rony. Sports passionate and content writer. He is big football and cricket fan.