Super Cup 2019: Chennaiyin FC 2-0 ATK - As it Happened

CK Vineeth and Anirudh Thapa scored for Chennaiyin FC as it beat ATK 2-0 to set up a Super Cup final clash against FC Goa.

CK Vineeth opened the scoring for Chennaiyin FC against ATK.   -  AIFF Media

Welcome to Sportstar's live blog of the Super Cup 2019 semifinal clash between ATK and Chennaiyin FC played at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar.

This is Amal John here and I'll be giving you company through this evening's semifinal clash.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

FULL TIME whistle and Chennaiyin FC is convincingly into the final, where it will face FC Goa.

Redemption Road continues for Chennaiyin FC and it'll be huge if it goes on to win the Super Cup after a disastrous ISL season. But in its way stands FC Goa, one of the best teams this season. Chennaiyin, which is now unbeaten for six matches since the ISL, beat ATK pretty easily but Goa is a different beast.

Fun Fact - Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa met in the ISL season 2 final. Chennaiyin won that one.

Thank you for tuning in. Come back here Saturday for the Super Cup final.

90' Chennnaiyin just controlling things at the moment. They've got to do it for five more minutes. 

Doesn't look like ATK are going to score.

88' Oh my! Raphael Augusto is showing off now. At the edge of the box, he holds off one defender and gets the ball over another one before he goes to the ground. No foul but Augusto is in his element.

87' Thoi Singh with a shot! It hits the side netting.

84' OUCH! That's a thumping tackle from Mailson Alves to take the ball away from Lyngdoh. Don't you love to see a hard, fair tackle?

81' Wow this game has become end-to-end and it's moving at a much faster rate than I can type. Help!

79' Corner for ATK and there's a shot and it's blocked. Ther's another shot and it's blocked. And Chennaiyin start a counter attack. Thoi Singh with lots of space on the right. He tries to find Vineeth who makes a good run in but an important interception keeps it out.

78' OHH WHAT A SHOT! Eugeneson Lyngdoh with a shot from distance but it's a good one. It dips at the last moment but Karanjit makes a great save to keep it out of the corner. 

76' The Lanza-Herd showdown is still going on. Lanza seemed to have swung an arm out at him as he won the free-kick. Both of them are on yellow cards and have got to be careful.

74' Lanza goes directly for goal from the free-kick. It's a good strike but Karanjit Singh punches it up in the air and it eventually goes out for a corner.  The corner is wasteful. Hitesh tries a strike from distance but it's nowhere near goal. That's not why he was brought on.

73' Lanzarote goes down under a challenge from Herd and ATK wins a free-kick in a good position. 

70' Jayesh Rane goes off. He's replaced by Hitesh Sharma. Rane has underperformed today. ATK's attack has lacked teeth tonight. Maybe Hitesh can help with that.  There's still a lot of time.

67' Chennaiyin with a foot in the final, one could say. But they're not settling for this. Sabia plays it long towards Thapa and he does well to control it near the corner flag and lobs it over his marksman. He passes it to Vineeth but he can't get a shot away in time.

58' ANIRUDH THAPAAA...GOAL!!! It's a sublime strike from his left foot through the defenders legs and into the bottom corner.

Laldinliana started that move from his own half. Evaded a challenge smoothly and runs into space on the right. He passes it to Gregory Nelson who finds Thapa with space. Thapa, on his weaker foot, unleashes a powerful strike thorough the defenders legs and past Debjit. 

It was poor defending from ATK, however, failing to apply enough pressure on the Chennaiyin players.

54' ATK is looking to find its way back but hasn't created anything solid yet. There's urgency in its play now and less precision.

50' GOALLLL! CK Vineeth heads it into the back of the net! Anirudh Thapa is the creator.

A strong and fine header from Vineeth but brilliant perserverance from Thapa on the flank. He gets up after a challenge passes a defender and takes the ball towards the goal line and lobs it into Vineeth's path. Finally, a cross works for Chennaiyin.

48' Mailson Alves from distance... Saved! He spots Debjit off his line and shoots from range but Debjit tips it over. And it's another corner for Chennaiyn. Another wasteful one, rather. 

47' Chennaiyin starts on the frontfoot early on. Gregory Nelson wins a corner after an important interception from Pritam Kotal but it's headed out.

46' And we're back for the second half. Fun Fact: This is the first time in the Super Cup this year that a first half has been goalless.

HALF TIME

45+2' That's another cross from Laldinliana and another corner to Chennaiyin FC. Can they go into the break with the advantage?
No. It's headed out.  And it comes back for another corner. Jerry's kick is at the near post but dealt with well and that's the half-time whistle.

45' A minute added on. It's tapered off here as the teams wait for the half time whistle to regroup.

42' Chris Herd and Lanzarote again! Lanzarote goes down clutching his neck. It looked like a coming together but Herd is being asked to calm down. Herd gets a yellow card for that.

41' Another cross from Laldinliana. What's that, the ninth cross of the game? Still no one at the end of it though.

40' Brain fade moment from Thapa! He miscontrols a cross and it goes out for a goal kick. There was no pressure on him and he should have done better.

39' Raphael Augusto! Wow. This guy has stood out in a poor season for Chennaiyin. He makes all those insane skills look so easy on the pitch and pulls the strings from midfield. Quality!

36' That's a disappointing cross and chance wasted by ATK right-back Pritam Kotal. He runs into space on the right and just has to find Balwant's head in the box but it goes out after a touch from Eli Sabia. But oh! the referee gives a goal kick and ATK players are furious!

34' CK Vineeth makes a good run to collect the ball on the right flank and charges towards goal. He tries to square it but it gets a deflection and goes out for a throw in. Vineeth is looking lively.

31' Christian Herd shows his frustration and almost gives a goal away. He tries to take a quick free-kick with Lyngdoh right in front. He shoots it into him and Balwant gets the ball now and shoots towards goal but it's weak.

28' Some contest on the right flank between the two fullbacks Laldinliana and Ricky. We'll get to see more of that today.

26' Rane with a shot from inside the box but it's blocked.

25' And at the other end, ATK has a chance. Jayesh Rane has the ball in the box but the Chennaiyin defence crowds around him and squeezes the ball away from him.

24' Chennaiyin creating more chances here. CK Vineeth plays it to Laldinliana on the right who plays a good ball in but there's no one to put it in the back of the net.

22' Ufff! Chennayin centre-back Eli Sabia will breathe a sigh of relief. He miscontrolls a bakcpass and Balwant Singh almost got to it. He manages to diffuse the situation somehow.

19' Thapa's alright! He's back on his feet and that's good news for India and Chennaiyin.

17' Anirudh Thapa is down injured in the penalty box after a clash with the keeper. Looks worrying. Raphael Augusto spots a run from Thapa and plays in into the box but ATK goalkeeper Debjit comes to punch it clear. He may have got a bit of Thapa on the way.

15' Oh Dhanapal should have put that in! Corner for Chennaiyin and Dhanapal Ganesh is unmarked and runs to the centre of the box but can't get there. It misses everyone.  Wondering where Mailson Alves was? John Johnson had him covered. Fairly? I don't know, because Mialson did go down in the box.

14' Slow build-up from Chennaiyin. Gregory Nelson waits for the run from Jerry behind him and plays it to

him but it's defended well.

10' Lanzarote and Christian Herd involved in a scuffle. And Lanza goes down. Not quite sure what's happened there.  But something tense is brewing between them.

9' Eugeneson Lyngdoh with a shot! It's ambitious, but ATK is working it well through Edu Garcia and Lanzarote.

7' CHANCE for Chennaiyin FC! Jerry plays a low cross into the box and CK Vineeth gets there but it's just wide. John Johson did well to put him off.

6' Anirudh Thapa is playing on the right today. Unnatural position for the central midifelder.

4' ATK is seeing more of the the ball in the first few minutes. Balwant Singh looks like he'll follow up on his hat-trick performance in the quarterfinal. He turns a Chennaiyin defender and starts a good attack. Pritam Kotal plays in a low cross but it's behind the ATK players in the box. Manuel Lanzarote's shot is high.

2' The big news for Chennaiyin today is the return of Jerry Lalrinzuala to the starting XI after 13 matches. Hasn't featured much season due to injury. Meanwhile, Dhanapal Ganesh starts his second consecutive match after missing the entire ISL season after a knee injury.

KICK OFF

  • I know what it looks like, but things were actually pretty cordial at the pre-match press conference. But like the photo suggests, one of the teams is going to be at the other's throats tonight. Scroll down to read what the bosses had to say.

ATK head coach Steve Coppell and Chennaiyin head coach John Gregory (R) at the pre-match press conference.   -  AIFF Media

  • We're minutes away from kick-off. Here are how ATK and Chennaiyin FC's quarterfinals went down. This could give you an idea of what to expect today.
    READ | Balwant Singh hat-trick sends ATK through to semis
    READ | Thapa stars as Chennaiyin FC comes from behind to reach semifinals
     
  • Among the players to look out for is Chennaiyin FC's Anirudh Thapa. The 21-year-old midfielder has been superb for club and country this season. Chennaiyin coach John Gregory talked about the difference he makes on the pitch and the need to protect him. Read the story here.
     
  • Hope this one isn't going to be as one-sided as last night's semifinal between FC Goa and Chennai City. ATK and Chennaiyin FC are former ISL champions, but let's be honest, that matters next to nothing when it comes to clashes like this and it's just something we use to fill headline space. But I'm excited by the fact that both teams have looked good since the end of the ISL season and we could see some good football. Stay tuned.

The starting line-ups are out

 

It's a clash between two former Indian Super League champions. In fact, ATK and Chennaiyin FC have won the league two times each in the five seasons since its inception. However, this season has been different for them; for Chennaiyin FC, in particular, finishing bottom of the table with the lowest-ever points (9) in ISL history. ATK missed out on the ISL playoffs again this season.

The Super Cup has been a sort of a redemption road for both these teams. Chennaiyin has gone five matches iunbeaten in all competitions since its last ISL match and ATK has scored seven goals in its last two matches in the Super Cup, with Balwant Singh scoring a hat-trick in the quarterfinal against Delhi Dynamos.

Here's our reporter Aashin Prasad's preview of the match.

Confident Chennaiyin FC takes on ATK in semis

A buoyed Chennaiyin FC, which is on a five-match unbeaten run, is eager to take the field against ATK in the semifinals of the Super Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday.

After a disastrous Indian Super League (ISL) campaign, Chennaiyin has put together a string of positive results in the AFC Cup and the Super Cup, which has lifted the mood in the camp.

Coach John Gregory said, “The buzz has come back which was there 12 months back (when Chennaiyin was crowned ISL champion). In team meetings, during supper and in each training session, the atmosphere is better now."

Although Chennaiyin has lost twice against ATK this season, Gregory is confident that his players are up for the task. “Our players firmly believe there is a lot to play for. We have often spoken about the opportunity to progress into another final,” said the Englishman.

Both Chennaiyin and ATK like to play in a narrow 4-2-3-1 formation with a tendency to defend in numbers when out of possession.

The burden of creating goal-scoring chances and attacks fall on the attacking players, who will look to isolate the defenders before showcasing their individual quality. Both teams also possess a threat from set-piece plays.

John Gregory head coach of Chennaiyin FC along with players during a practice session.   -  M. Vedhan

 

Lanzarote's threat

With a pair of goals and assists, Manuel Lanzarote of ATK has been one of the stand out attacking midfielders during the tournament.

His movement across the pitch and the ability to pick out passes through the lines is crucial for Steve Coppell’s men to find width in a compact system. The former FC Goa midfielder also has a sublime left foot from which he can score goals out of nothing.

“You can't man-mark him (Lanzarote) out of the game because he has so many qualities. He can play in any part of the field. There is a lot of ways to play against him. We managed to keep him relatively quiet when we played four times against Goa,” said Gregory.

Coppell dismissed suggestions that this will be a contest between ATK’s attack, which has scored seven goals in two matches, against Chennaiyin’s defence, having conceded just once in the last five.

“It's not going to be that kind of a game. The statistics might show that. Only after 10-15 minutes, will you get a measure of how the game will be played out. They are a dangerous side,” said Coppell.

Balwant's resurgence

The former Manchester City manager identified Raphael Augusto’s influence in midfield for the Chennayin in possession and rued the loss of defensive midfielder Pronay Halder, who is suspended for the game.

ATK striker Balwant Singh has put the ball in the back of the net on four occasions, including a sublime hat-trick against Delhi Dynamos. Coppell was guilty of pushing the former Chennaiyin player to the wide positions during the ISL season, where he scored just once in 15 matches.

“He has been terrific in training after we came back from the ISL season. I blame myself for his form this season. I played him on the left and right but not as often as a No. 9. We had other options in the position. Because he gets goals, I put him out wide. You can see how much he relishes playing the no. 9 role,” said Coppell.

In a battle of attritional play, it could boil down to which team makes the least mistakes and grabs its chances.

(The match will kick-off at 8:30 pm and will be streamed live on Hotstar.)