Football

ISL | ATK has the final laugh, picks up a record third title

Cup of joy: The victorious ATK team with the trophy.

Cup of joy: The victorious ATK team with the trophy.   | Photo Credit: PrashantNakwe

Javier Hernandez’s brace leaves Chennaiyin FC ruing its missed chances

Javier Hernandez’s brace helped ATK defeat Chennaiyin FC in the final and create Indian Super League history, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Saturday.

A handful of lucky people — mainly friends and family of the team owners who were given special access — were witness to the interesting action which was held behind closed doors because of the Coronavirus scare.

In guiding ATK to its record third title, Antonio Lopez Habas became the most successful coach of the ISL as the Spaniard picked his second crown while returning to the side after a break of three seasons. The ATK centre-half Hernandez, who had never scored before the final, stepped up as the finisher scoring the first and the third goals while Spainard Edu Garcia scored one in between. Nerijus Valskis pulled one back for Chennaiyin FC late in the second half.

Missed chances

The final could have easily gone the other way had Chennaiyin FC managed to avail two opportunities in the first four minutes.

Cock-a-hoop: ATK FC celebrates its triiumph against Chennaiyin FC

Cock-a-hoop: ATK FC celebrates its triiumph against Chennaiyin FC   | Photo Credit: PrashantNakwe

 

Chennaiyin FC pressed the attack mode right from the start and had Andre Schembri running up the right to cut the ball back to winger Rafael Crivellaro in the box.

The latter’s attempt took a deflection off an ATK defender and was headed into the goal but Pritam Kotal made a timely goalmouth clearance to the save ATK. Keeping up the pressure, Chennaiyin made another inroad in the fourth minute but this time it was the crosspiece that blocked Valskis’ attempt.

ATK released the pressure by the getting the goal in the 10th minute. It was the result of a fantastic combination in the attack which saw Roy Krishna moving up on the left to collect a long floater from the centre.

The Fijian forward essayed a nice cross upfront to his colleague David Williams, who played a dummy letting Hernandez move from the centre and finish with a spectacular scissors kick. ATK could have doubled the lead in the 23rd minute when Krishna set up another cross which was partially cleared by Vishal Kaith.

ATK teammates celebrate Garcia’s goal against Chennaiyin FC

ATK teammates celebrate Garcia’s goal against Chennaiyin FC   | Photo Credit: PrashantNakwe

 

Schembri had the chance to draw level for Chennaiyin FC in the 31st minute but the ATK goalkeeper Arindam Bhattattacharya put up a fantastic effort to clear the former’s header. The ATK suffered a big blow when Roy Krishna walked off the pitch in tears after suffering in injury in the 40th minute. The setback, however, did not appear to hurt ATK much as it came back after the break to double the lead in the 48th minute.

Edu Garcia did the finishing act to set ATK on the victory path. Valskis made it 2-1 in the 69th minute but that appeared to come a bit late as ATK effectively sealed its back-line. Hernandez made it 3-1 in the injury-time to complete a fantastic win for ATK.

The result: Final: ATK 3 (Javier Hernandez 10, 90+3, Edu Garcia 48) bt Chennaiyin FC 1(Nerijus Valskis 69).

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 7:08:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/atk-has-the-final-laugh-picks-up-a-record-third-title/article31070661.ece

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