The last defeat here gave us resolve to turn around: Materazzi

Marco Materazzi had left with distaste last time his team Chennaiyin FC appeared at the giant Salt Lake Stadium and lost 2-1 against Atletico Kolkata during the league stage. The loss hurt the visitor the most pushing it deeper into despair as Materazzi’s team looked at the prospect of an early exit from the tournament.

The Chennayins made a remarkable turnaround thereafter to reach the semis and then glossed over it with a thumping 3-0 dominance over Atletico de Kolkata.   -  R. Ragu

Marco Materazzi had left with distaste last time his team Chennaiyin FC appeared at the giant Salt Lake Stadium and lost 2-1 against Atletico Kolkata during the league stage. The loss hurt the visitor the most pushing it deeper into despair as Materazzi’s team looked at the prospect of an early exit from the tournament.

The Italian World Cupper, perhaps, did not foresee a reversal of roles so soon. The Chennayins made a remarkable turnaround thereafter to reach the semis and then glossed over it with a thumping 3-0 dominance over the defending champion. From being the underdog barely a few weeks ago, the Chennaiyins are now striding like a colossus. “The defeat here was something that gave us the motivation to start all over again and we did that well in the end,” Materazzi said looking back at his team last visit. “The presence of around 70,000 people will inspire every player to give his best here. Preparing for the match in Pune was much more difficult,” Materazzi said taking the apparent notion of home support away from the host.

The Italian star congratulated the ISL for realising the “merger’ of international and Indian players and said that the tournament will create a “movement” for the benefit of the sport. “The ISL’s role is to ensure a match up of the Indian and foreign players. There may some differences in mentality but the merger of international and Indian players will help create a movement for football that will benefit India,”

The Atletico de Kolkata coach Antonio Habas took the route of pragmatism. “We are a team of professional players, who know their duty which is to secure a win,” Habas said. “We played to win in the first leg but failed. We will try to forget that and focus on the next 90 minutes and get a margin that will help us reach the final,” the ATK coach tried to dispel the apparent gloom.