Football

ATK and Chennaiyin in the ultimate battle

Battlelines drawn: ATK’s Roy Krishna, left, and coach Antonio Habas, right, will match wits with Chennaiyin FC’s Lucian Goian, second from left, and coach Owen Coyle.

Battlelines drawn: ATK’s Roy Krishna, left, and coach Antonio Habas, right, will match wits with Chennaiyin FC’s Lucian Goian, second from left, and coach Owen Coyle.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Both teams have won two titles each and will go for a record third

Fans constitute an essential part of a football game, the players drawing energy from the passion generated in the stands. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the final of the sixth edition of the Hero-Indian Super League between ATK and Chennaiyin FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here will be held behind closed doors. Both sides are going for a record third title.

 

The teams have taken different routes to the summit clash, adding intensity to the contest.

More consistent

ATK has been more consistent than its rival, never dropping out of the top four in the league stage. After spending two forgettable seasons, the Kolkata outfit benefited from its decision of recalling Antonio Lopez Habas, the Spanish coach who orchestrated its trophy triumph in the inaugural season.

Under Habas, ATK regained its winning rhythm, thanks to Roy Krishna and David Williams who proved devastating in the frontline. The Fiji-Australia combination accounted for 22 goals, with Krishna contributing 15.

 

The final will be a test of the attacking prowess of the two teams. Chennaiyin owes it to the coaching acumen of Owen Coyle for reaching this far. The Irishman inspired one of the most remarkable turnarounds in the history of the tournament as Chennaiyin was lying in the penultimate spot at one stage.

Lethal combo

The key to the revival was the strikeforce of Lithuanian Nerijus Valskis (14 goals) and Brazilian Rafael Crivellaro (7), who emerged as one of the most successful combinations. ATK and Chennaiyin have met 14 times, the former winning six matches and the latter four. The other four games have ended in draws. In the current season, ATK beat Chennaiyin away but lost 3-1 at home.

The two sides have played two finals each and won on both occasions. It remains to be seen which emerges as the most successful team in the history of the ISL.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 6:00:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/atk-and-chennaiyin-in-the-ultimate-battle/article31063168.ece

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