ISL Final Highlights: ATK beats Chennaiyin FC 3-1 to win record third title

Fellow two-time Indian Super League champions ATK and Chennaiyin FC will face off in the this season's Indian Super League final at the Fatorda Stadium.

Javier Hernandez

Javier Hernandez celebrates after scoring for ATK in the Indian Super League (ISL) final against Chennaiyn FC on Saturday.   -  ISL MEDIA

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's live coverage of the Indian Super League final between two-time champions ATK and Chennaiyin FC. This is Shyam Vasudevan and I will keep you company as the action unfurls at the Fatorda stadium.

 

An enthralling season of the Indian Super League comes to an end as ATK makes history by beating Chennaiyin FC to win a record third ISL title. The win makes Antonio Habas the first manager in ISL history to win two titles with the same club. Here's our reporter Aashin Prasad's match report - Hernandez heroics steer ATK to historic third ISL title

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ATK will play as a new entity next season, following its merger with India oldest football club, Mohun Bagan. The new side will play in the ISL next season, and will also play in the AFC Cup group stage.

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Nerijus Valskis' strike today sees him win the Golden Boot Award. He finished on 15 goals, along with Roy Krishna and Bartholomew Ogbeche, but won the award as he had played fewer minutes. Here are the 10 top-scorers of the season - ISL 2019-20: Top 10 goal-scorers

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FULL TIME: ATK makes Indian Super League history as the side rides on Javier Hernandez's brace to beat Chennaiyin FC 3-1 and win its third ISL title.

90+4' An absolute moment of madness from Kaith as he races off his line, but misses the ball and Hernandez converts Halder's through ball to all but finish off the game.

90+4' JAVIER HERNANDEZ SCORES AND THAT CERTAINLY HAS TO BE IT! ATK LEADS 3-0 WITH A MINUTE LEFT ON THE CLOCK.

90+1' Dragos plays a lovely throughball for Valskis, but Arindam slides in to collect the ball. There's a tiny bit of contact between Arindam and Valskis, but the ATK 'keeper has remained on the ground in a bid to eat up a few more crucial seconds.

90' The fourth official has signalled for four added minutes. Chennaiyin had won its first title here, in Goa, when it beat FC Goa in added time back in 2015. Can Coyle's men do it again?

88' Edu Garcia is bearing down on the goal, but Eli Sabia takes him out with a cynical challenge and goes straight into the ref's book. Last two minutes of regulation time!

85' Chennaiyin FC wins a freekick from a dangerous position and this a fine chance. Crivellaro curls it towards the far post, but there's no Chennaiyin player there to convert it.

84' Final change for ATK - Mandi Sosa has been replaced by Victor Mongil.

83' Oh what a a chance for Valskis! Crivellaro does remarkably well to work his way down the left and cross it for Valskis in the box. The Lithuanian manages to sneak behind his marker, Johnson, but misreads the ball as his header floats well wide of the target.

80' Vishal Kaith shows great awareness as he races off his line to clear the danger. Edu Garcia was released on goal and and was 1v1 with the 'keeper, but an alert Kaith ensured the ATK man had no opportunity to shoot.

78' Chennaiyin is calling the shots here - the side has over 60 per cent of possession and has been relentless with its attacks. Matter of time before it can find the equaliser? Twelve minutes on the clock.

75' Change for Chennaiyin FC - Andre Schembri's career comes to an end as he is replaced by Dragos Firtulescu. The Romanian makes an immediate impact as he crafts a fine cross into the box, but the defence does well to clear the danger.

72' Chance goes begging! Soosairaj dodges his way into the box and plays it into the box. The Chennaiyin defence scampers to clear it, but it rolls kindly to Sosa at the edge of the box. The Spaniard has the change to curl it into the net, but ends up ballooning it into the empty stands.

70' Valskis is in the thick of things again as he leaps past his marker to nod in Eli Sabia's cross, but Arindam does well to block it.

68' Chennaiyin's persistence finally pays off as Valskis strikes a phenomenal half-volley to bust the net and halve the deficit. That's his 15th goal of the season and his 10th goal in as many matches! Mr. consistent indeed.  

68' GOAL FOR CHENNAYIN! VALSKIS IT IS AND THE SIDE IS RIGHT BACK INTO THIS GAME!

66' Second change for ATK - Pronay Halder comes on for Michael Regin.

62' Another call goes against Chennaiyin. Soosairaj takes out Schembri on the touchline and the Chennaiyin attacker desperately asks for a foul but the referee says nothing doing.

60' Chennaiyin piling on the pressure here and ATK appears to be content to sit back and defend. Chennaiyin is throwing men forward in search of the elusive goal, but the ATK defence, led by Johnson, has done well to hold fort.

59' That's a horrible challenge from Michael Regin. He leaps into Edwin with a terribly high challenge and strikes him on the shoulder with his studs. Referee shows no hesitation to book the ATK man.

55' Chennaiyin has dominated possession so far. The side has 61 per cent of possession, but has struggled to beat the ATK defence.

54' Another dubious decision from the referee- John Johnson is all over Valskis in the box and even tugs his jersey, but the referee sees no foul!

54' Injury scare for Chennaiyin - Edwin has clattered knees with Sumit Rahti and seems to be in pain. Chennaiyin cannot afford to lose another player to injury in this final! Update: Edwin's back on his feet, no injury.

52' Chhaaaaangte...just wide. He shoots from inside the box, but can't bend the ball enough and it rolls wide of the target.

49' What a fantastic start to the second half for ATK as Edu Garcia's strike has all but put the side in the driver's seat. Chennaiyin FC has a mountain to claim, and has 40 minutes to do so.

48' GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAL! Edu Garcia finds the back of the net and ATK now leads 2-0.  The Spaniard holds his nerve to coolly slot home Williams' assist.

46' KICK OFF!

First half summed up

- Javier Hernandez scores first goal of season to give ATK the lead
- Valskis hits crossbar, Chennaiyin fails to convert chances
- Roy Krishna suffers hamstring injury, replaced by Mandi Sosa
- Germanpreet Singh injures ankle, Edwin Vanspaul comes on for him

45+3' That's the end of the first half and ATK maintains a slender one-goal lead over Chennaiyin FC, courtesy of Javier Hernandez's 10th minute strike.

44' Sumit Rathi appears to be in pain here as he clutches his left knee. The fourth official has signalled for three minutes to be added on.

42' It's interesting to note that Habas has chosen to replace Krishna with Mandi Sosa and not Balwant Singh, who's an out and out striker.

41' Javier hacks down Anirudh Thapa from behind, but the referee refuses to book the ATK man. That would have a been a clear yellow on any other day.

40' Trouble for ATK! The side's talisman, Roy Krishna, has injured his hamstring and is in tears. The Fijian star has no choice but to trudge off the pitch and Armando Sosa Pena replaces him.

36' Schembri is fouled and wins a freekick for his side. Valskis steps up and looks to let one from from distance, but his low strike only manages to find the wall standing 10-odd yards away. The Lithuanian has had a tough evening so far.

Who are you rooting for? Have your say here -

 

30' What a stunning save from Arindam! Crivellaro plays an inch-perfect lob to an unmarked Schembri, and Arindam makes a fantastic save to parry it away for a corner.  

29' It's Valskis vs Arindam again and it's the latter who comes on top. Valskis shoots from 30-odd yards out, in search of the opener, but Arindam produces a fine diving save to deny him.

27' Another chance for Valskis! Schembri and Crivellaro play a lovely one-two and the Maltese squares it for Valskis in the box, but the Chennaiyin striker can't beat Arindam.

23' That was very nearly 2-0 to ATK! Krishna wrestles his way into the box and has a shot, but Kaith manages to block it. The rebound goes as far as Javier, who's a few yards away, but the Spaniard's strike is saved off the line by Jerry. The Chennaiyin defence looks rather clueless.

21' It was rather strange that Coyle chose to bench Edwin, who has played 19 games this season and has been a midfield mainstay for the side.

21' Chennaiyin gaffer Owen Coyle's gamble to start with Germanpreet falls flat as the midfielder has injured his ankle and has to be replaced by Edwin Sydney Vanspaul.

20' First attempt in a while for Chennaiyin. Jerry floats in a looping cross into the box and Chhangte connects, but it's a routine save for Arindam.

17' Chhangte loses the ball cheaply to Prabir and the full back leaps past Goian's sliding challenge, but his cross fails him. Edu Garcia goes on to rashly take out Jerry in the next play, but no booking for him. That's a shocker from the ref and Coyle is furious, to say the least.

15' What a fine opening quarter of play we've had. Chennaiyin had the bulk of chances in the opening minutes and Valskis got agonisingly close to scoring, but it's ATK that has the lead. We've got a cracker of a contest on our hands!

11' The Chennaiyin defence is caught napping as Krishna dances his way down the left flank before floating in a fine cross into the box. Javier is largely unmarked and converts with aplomb to put his side ahead. And it gets better - it's his first goal of the season!

11' GOAAAAAAAAL! JAVIER HERNANDEZ SLAMS HOME ROY KRISHNA'S CROSS TO GIVE ATK THE LEAD!

8' Going back to that Goian challenge, he seemed to get none of the ball. He lunged ahead of Javier and put his body in the way, but failed to get a touch on the ball. Tough call from the ref.

7' Chance! Soosairaj weaves his way past three defenders and drops his shoulder before rifling one towards the far post, but his strike floats narrowly wide of the target. Meanwhile, Goian appears to foul Javier in the box, but the ref doesn't award a penalty.

6' Javier takes the freekick, but can't beat the wall.

5' Germanpreet, making just his sixth start of the season, picks up a yellow for a foul on Williams. A great set-piece chance for ATK here.

4' OFF THE CROSSBAR! Valskis storms into the box and takes a touch too many before he lets one rip, but it clatters against the underside of the crossbar.

STAT: An Indian has scored in each of the last five ISL finals. Will it become six in six today?

1' What a start for Chennaiyin! Crivellaro wins the ball in the ATK box and chips it over the 'keeper, but Pritam Kotal clears it off the line. The resulting corner is hastily cleared by the ATK defence.

1' KICK-OFF!

7:25pm: The players are on the pitch and we are minutes from kick-off! Go ahead and grab those popcorn buckets, we'll be back with live action in a few.

Watch ISL Final video preview: ATK vs Chennaiyin FC

7:20pm: Chennaiyin FC's Andre Schembri finds a place in the starting XI today, in what is the last game of his professional career. The third generation Maltese star will most certainly look forward to taking home the title.

7:15pm: Who are you rooting for? Have your say here -

 

7:10pm: What's it like to have an ISL Final in the football-mad state of Goa behind closed doors, you ask? Our reporter Aashin Prasad with the ground report - ISL final: Football in the time of coronavirus

 

So ATK remains unchanged from the semifinal win against Bengaluru, while Chennaiyin FC has one change - Germanpreet Singh has come on for Edwin Vanspaul. A peculiar decision this. Is the Tamil Nadu midfielder carrying a niggle perhaps? He's played in 19 matches this season.

7pm: LINE UPS!

ATK: Arindam Bhattacharja (GK), Sumit Rathi, John Johnson, Pritam Kotal, Prabir Das, Regin Michael, Javier Hernandez, Michael Soosairaj, Edu Garcia, David Williams, Roy Krishna (C).
Subs: Dheeraj Singh (GK), Victor Mongil, Armando Sosa Pena, Pronay Halder, Balwant Singh, Jobby Justin, Jayesh Rane.

Chennaiyin FC: Vishal Kaith (GK), Eli Sabia, Lucian Goian (C), Jerry Lalrinzuala, Laldinliana Renthlei, Germanpreet Singh, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Anirudh Thapa, Rafael Crivellaro, Nerijus Valskis, Andre Schembri.
Subs: Karanjit Singh (GK), Masih Saighani, Deepak Tangri, Dragos Firtulescu, Edwin Vanspaul, Thoi Singh, Rahim Ali.

6:50pm: Now this one's a fun read- here's our pick of the best combined XI from both teams - ISL final: ATK vs Chennaiyin - Combined XI of the finalists

6:40pm: Twelve months ago, Edwin Sydney Vanspaul was part of a remarkable fairytale with Chennai City in the I-League. Fast forward to 2020, he is now on the verge of scripting another big one, this time with Chennaiyin FC. Here's a tale on his remarkable rise - In the thick of things: Edwin Vanspaul's ISL journey

6:30pm: In one of his first interviews with Sportstar and in most pre-game pressers since, Chennaiyin FC gaffer Owen Coyle has quietly repeated one point. “Our objective is to take it one game at a time and keep improving.” His men are now one win away from the title. Here's how the Scotsman steered his side to the final - Chennaiyin FC's Owen Coyle taking it one day at a time

6:20pm: SWOT analysis time!

Antonio Lopez Habas will look to seal his comeback to ATK in style as he leads the side's charge for a third ISL title this evening. Ahead of the summit clash, we analyse the club's chances.  - ISL final: What are ATK's strengths and weaknesses?

Owen Coyle turned around Chennaiyin FC’s fortunes and now the two-time champion finds itself in the Indian Super League final. The side's biggest strength remains its lethal midfield. - ISL final: What are Chennaiyin's strengths and weaknesses?

6:10pm: History will be made in the Indian Super League this evening as ATK and Chennaiyin FC vie to clinch a record third ISL title. Here's a quick recap of how the previous five finals went down - ISL: Looking back at the five finals

Since Owen Coyle took charge, Chennaiyin FC picked up 24 points in 12 games, and a place in the top four was sealed with a game in hand. (READ)

Match preview by Aashin Prasad from Goa

Owen Coyle has been in a similar situation in the past. The Scotsman took the lowly Burnley to clinch the Championships playoffs to earn promotion to the Premier League. Burnley, according to Coyle, was tipped to be in the bottom three of the Championship and he drew parallels to his current club Chennaiyin FC, which was placed ninth in the table after six matches at the start of December. Four months on, his team is in the fight for the Indian Super League (ISL) title in the summit clash against ATK.

Antonio Habas has been in the exact scenario before though. He won the inaugural ISL title with ATK in 2014 and now has the chance to add another crown here at the Fatorda Stadium on Saturday. But this final is doubly important, with its partner club Mohun Bagan, which will merge with the red-and-white outfit to become a new ISL team next season, winning the I-League championship earlier this week in emphatic fashion.

The final being played behind closed doors, due to the coronavirus threat, adds to the elements to counter for both the clubs. Coyle, Habas, and the skippers Lucian Goian and Roy Krishna acknowledged that the unique setting will be a first in their careers and something beyond their control.

RELATED |  ISL final: What are Chennaiyin's strengths and weaknesses?

Even without the soundtrack of the supporters both the teams have enough in their arsenal to make the right noises.

During Chennaiyin’s unbeaten nine-match run in the second half of the season, Coyle settled on a starting XI in which his front four of Nerijus Valskis, Rafael Crivellaro, Lallianzuala Chhangte and Andre Schembri could excel in. The quartet has scored 22 goals since then, including the two in the second-leg defeat against FC Goa in the semifinals.

After the 6-5 aggregate win on Saturday, Chennaiyin has set up base in the state and has been putting in the paces over the week. On Friday morning, Coyle made his way early into the Bambolim Athletic Stadium to oversee the preparations for the final practice session of the season. As the players made their way in, he stood stony-faced in the centre circle with his arms crossed, as the players went about their stretches. Just three months back when he took over, the picture would most likely have been a more hands-on-approach.

ATK's Roy Krishna (15 goals) and Chennaiyin FC's Nerijus Valskis (14) will continue their battle for the Indian Super League (ISL) Golden Boot on Saturday.   -  Twitter (@IndSuperLeague)

 

It’s the idea of being a collective unit which has helped Coyle tick at Chennaiyin and he wants to have one final flourish. Coyle said, “It's not about stopping one individual, it is a collective effort. We have talented individuals, but our strength is as a group. And that's what when we are able to achieve."

On the other end, there have been a few uncertainties surrounding ATK. For various reasons, Habas has put out the same starting XI for successive matches only twice this season, with the second instance coming – after 13 matches -- in the playoff semifinal win over defending champion Bengaluru FC.

In the last two matches, the Spaniard has settled on the back three of Pritam Kotal, John Johnson and Sumit Rathi. There are still question marks over goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharja, who has been error-prone despite keeping nine clean-sheets. But crucially for Habas, he was able to reinstate David Williams back into the team in the last three games. Williams has seven goals and four assists this season despite missing close to six games this season through injury. His dovetailing with Krishna, and how Chennaiyin's midfield and defence manage to keep the forward quiet will be a pivotal contest.

Williams struck the winner against Chennaiyin earlier in the season and then provided the requisite threat in his comeback 45 minutes in the 3-1 defeat to the same side. Another standout player in the ranks has been Prabir Das as the right wing-back, adding creativity from the flanks in the 3-5-2 formation.

RELATED |  In the thick of things: Edwin Vanspaul's ISL journey

The normally stern Habas looked relaxed ahead of the final. “We have to enjoy the final but we have to respect the opponent. There is only one final. Maybe some player doesn't have the opportunity to play another final in his career. But we need one heart and the whole mind for the final,” he said.

ATK's scheduled training on Friday stood cancelled as most of the team reached late on the eve of the game. It remains to be seen if it has a bearing on the players' performance in the final.

Both teams have played each other twice in the league stages with the home team suffering defeats. Chennaiyin’s 3-1 defeat of ATK last month proved to be the blow which knocked it out of the reckoning in finishing top of the table – a position which Habas covets more than the ISL title.

Now, an opportunity presents for ATK to shoot down the high fliers from Chennai.

Match details

ATK vs Chennaiyin will be shown live at 7:30 PM IST on the Star Sports network. It can also be streamed live on Hotstar and Jio TV.