ISL 2019-20: ATK striker Williams punishes goal-shy Chennaiyin

The clash of the two-time champions saw the tournament's 1000th goal being scored at one end and a team's goal drought extend at the other.

ATK's David Williams (R) scored the only goal of the night, which incidentally is also the 1000th goal in the history of the tournament.   -  R. Ragu

At the close, it was a feeling all too familiar for Chennaiyin FC: starting bright, failing to capitalise on early chances before being resigned to defeat. On Wednesday, Chennaiyin’s troubles were compounded at the Nehru Stadium in the 0-1 loss to ATK in the Indian Super League.

David Williams scored from a fortuitous opportunity in the 48th minute to give Antonio Habas’ side a second successive win while Chennaiyin remains winless in three outings.

Match highlights | Chennaiyin FC vs ATK, as it happened

Chennaiyin was the more reactive side in its attacking approach, while ATK was more fluid with its forwards – Roy Krishna, Williams and Javier Hernandez - carving their forays from training ground routines. The home team meanwhile seemed to be patching things together strenuously.

Despite ATK’s superiority, Chennaiyin had better openings to take the lead in the first half. ATK’s back three was caught off-guard inside the first 10 minutes but Nerujis Valskis, making his first start of the season, headed a chance over the bar and dragged a cut-back wide of goal from close range.

 

When ATK won the ball, it pressed forward at pace and offered better ideas in attack. In the 5-3-2 formation, creative midfielder Javier Hernandez was linking on both the wings. On the left, Michael Soosairaj, Williams and Hernandez were piling pressure on Chennaiyin’s right center-back and right-back. Hernandez then drifted to the right to cause trouble alongside Krishna and Prabir Das.

Soosairaj, in particular, was electric from the left. In the 24th minute, he drove forward after winning the ball in the opposition half, playing in Williams on the left, who then returned the favour with a cut-back into the box. Soosairaj’s shot, however, was blocked by Lucian Goian in the face of goal.

Chennaiyin weathered ATK’s dominance late in the first half to go all square into the break.

ATK’s goal did come early in the second period but from a mistake by young left-back Tondonba Singh. He was drawn towards Das’ run from a regulation free-kick played forward and in the process played him onside. Das won the header before playing in Hernandez, who hit a first-time shot which was deflected by Goian into the path of Williams. The Australian had the easiest of tasks to fire the ball into the net.

 

In the 60th minute, Edwin Sydney Vanspaul struck a rasping drive from 30 yards out which swung narrowly wide of the far post. That effort brought the home support to its feat as Chennaiyin players began to push harder for the equaliser.

Meanwhile, ATK lost some of its counter-attacking threat when Soosairaj was stretchered off midway through the second half and Chennaiyin almost profited from it.

Anirudh Thapa won a loose ball in midfield and played a quick interchange at the edge of the area which deflected kindly on to the path of Andre Schembri, who dragged his left-footed shot marginally wide of the far post.

The result now means that Chennaiyin is yet to find the back of the net this season, while ATK has deservedly taken home the three points.

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