ATK's Javi Hernández celebrating his goal against Chennaiyin FC (Photo: Twitter|ISL)
Fatorda: ATK FC have a 1-0 lead over Chennaiyin in the Indian Super League final at an empty Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here in Goa.
A first goal of the season form Javi Hernández gave ATK the lead in the 10th minute. Despite creating wonderful chances, neither team was able to convert. ATK keeper Arindam Bhattacharja was in inspired form denying several shots on target.
Both Owen Coyle and Antonio Lopez Habas kept their usual 4-2-3-1 and 3-5-2 formations. Coyle opted to start with Germanpreet Singh in the middle instead of Edwin Vanspaul. Other than that, both teams remained unchanged from their last matches.
The match started with both teams trying to take the initiative. The first chance fell for Chennayin FC in just after 60 seconds.
Andre Schembri got to the byline on the right and cut the ball back towards Rafael Crivellaro. An ATK defender gets a touch on the ball which distracted Crivellaro who tried to hit it towards goal. However, the Brazilian mishit the ball and it was looping into the goal. Another defender came across and cleared it away off the line.
Chennaiyin got a better chance just 2 minutes later. Germanpreet Singh galloped forward with the ball from midfield and found Andre Schembri. The winger fed Nerijus Valskis outside the box. The striker moved into the box, evaded a couple of challenges before hitting a thunderbolt of a shot with his left foot. Unluckily for Chennaiyin, the ball hit the underside of the cross bar and came out.
But the first goal was scored by ATK in the 10th minute. A long ball out from defence found Roy Krishna wide to the left. Eli Sabia moves wide to stop the striker, who finds a bit of space and whipped the ball into the middle. David Williams let the ball go past him deceiving Lucian Goian. Javi Hernández came running in and fired the ball into the ground which bounced into the top corner beating Chennaiyin keeper Vishal Kaith.
It was Javi Hernández’s first goal of the season and what a time and way to score.
Germanpreet Singh was forced off injured and was replaced by Edwin Vanspaul in the 22 minute.
ATK should have doubled their lead in the 23rd minute. Roy Krishna came in from the right and beat The two Chennaiyin centre backs with ease. He unleashed shot which was saved by Vishal Kaith. The ball then fell to Javier Hernandez who shoots at goal but the ball was cleared off the line by Laldinliana Renthlei.
Nerijus Valskis should have equalised in the 27th minute.
After an excellent one-two between Andre Schembri and Rafael Crivellaro inside the box, Nerijus Valskis was set free with a lovely pass. The forward takes a first-time shot but it's straight to Arindam Bhattacharja. He fumbles slightly but Pritam Kotal immediately comes to the rescue.
The ATK keeper saved another shot on goal just two minutes later. Rafael Crivellaro put in a cross which was intercepted by Sumit Rathi. The defender cannot keep it under control and the ball falls to Nerijus Valskis. The forward takes a shot from outside the box and Arindam Bhattacharja dives low to his right to parry the ball away.
Arindam Bhattacharja continued his heroics in the 31st minute. Rafael Crivellaro whips in a free-kick from the left. The ball was headed towards goal by Andre Schembri but Arindam on a full stretch dive to his right pushed the ball out of danger.
Roy Krishna came off with an injury and was replaced by Mandi Sosa in the 40th minute. Edu García moved up alongside David Williams.