Chennayin remain at the bottom after 2-1 loss

Sameehg Doutie and Iain Hume scored once apiece in the two halves to ensure full points for the hosts in Kolkata after the visitors had found the lead first off Raphael Augusto.

Iain Hume scored in the second half to give Atletico de Kolkata a lead that they hung on to.   -  Sportzpics/ISL

Defending champion Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) ended their success drought at home with a comeback 2-1 win against visiting Chennaiyin FC here at the Salt Lake Stadium. Sameehg Doutie and Iain Hume scored once apiece in the two halves to ensure the full points for the hosts after the visitors had found the lead first off Raphael Augusto. ATK, which beat beat Chennaiyin FC 3-2 while visiting them in the first match, thus made it a double with the home win.

It was justifiably even-stevens in the first half for the two teams, who reaped success in their respective styles, though contrasting in nature. The hosts, playing in their usual formation with priority on attack, found a late flourish before the visitors had usurped the initial advantage with their snatch-and-run technique based on an overtly defensive formation.

Chennaiyin coach Marco Materazzi sought to be less adventurous considering the reputation of the hosts, and put an extra man in a withdrawn midfield while completely overhauling the attack that played and lost against NorthEast United FC (2-1) at home in the previous outing. The visitors rested both Balwant Singh and Colombian Stiven Mendoza while bringing in the Ethiopian Fikru Teferra to join Brazilian play-maker Elano Blumer. Looking for the elusive win, Materazzi jiggled the side, making five changes, prominent among which was bringing in the India goalkeeper Karanjit Singh. The home side made couple of changes among the Indian players, bringing in Arata Izumi in the attack and Arnab Mondal in defence for Jewel Raja and N. Mohanraj.

The first goal, happening in the 27th minute, was more of a gift from the ATK defenders — Augustine Fernandes and Arnab Mondal — who both failed to clear the through-pass of Firkru, leaving Brazilian midfielder Raphael Augusto with a freebie inside the ATK box that the latter scored with ease. The setback, happening quite against the run of play, put extra pressure on the hosts as the visitors redoubled their efforts to enhance the lead.

Atletico score equaliser in injury time

The equaliser arrived after a prolonged toil and at the end of the first half, just when the visitors seemed to be relaxing after putting on a good resistance against the hosts’ ambitions. After Hume, the lone striker of ATK, had seen his header miss the target at the 45th minute, the South African right winger Doutie blasted home a rasping volley to get the ball past Karanjit, in the injury time (45+2 minute). The Chennaiyin goalkeeper had cleared a Jamie Gavilan freekick to give Doutie the chance, at the top of the box.

The change of ends saw a more disciplined ATK, who played a better passing game to offset the counter-offensive approach of the visitors. Hume had the first opportunity in the 58th minute, but Karanjit saved his attempt with a desperate lunge. Then ATK continued the search for the lead as Doutie and Valdo, the Spaniard alternating the attack with Hume, livened up the flanks, much to the discomfort of the Chennaiyin defence, comprising mainly of Italian Alessandro Potenza and Brazilian Malison Alves.

The winner came off a well coordinated effort in the 63rd minute as Arnab released Hume with long ball from near the home box. Hume squared the ball to Valdo on the right, and the latter relayed it along the line to Doutie, who chugged up the park before setting up a sharp cross. Hume, who had made it to the goalmouth anticipating the pass, flicked ball past an onrushing Karanjit to make it spectacular effort in the end.

The win, which was their second in four matches at home, took Atletico Kolkata to the second spot with 17 points from 11 matches, while Chennaiyin FC, suffering their sixth loss overall, remained at the bottom of the table.

The result: Atletico Kolkata 2 (Sameehg Doutie 45+2, Iain Hume 63) bt Chennaiyin FC 1 (Raphael Augusto 27).