Atletico de Kolkata coach Jose Molina is “absolutely confident” that his side will qualify for the semi-finals of Hero Indian Super League but is well aware that “anything could happen.”
The former champions are placed fifth with 14 points from 10 matches and now meet sixth-placed Chennaiyin FC in an 11th round match at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai, on Sunday. Atletico de Kolkata have never lost to Chennaiyin FC in a league game. Their only loss was last season when they bowed out against Chennaiyin FC in the semi-finals but it’s not the past that gives Molina the confidence.
“It’s not about Chennaiyin FC or us (fighting for the fourth spot). All teams are very close. From yesterday’s result between Delhi and Pune (which Pune won 4-3), it’s more closer. Four matches are still left to be played and I think anything can happen. No team can say they will be in semi-finals. We are confident but we have to fight,” Molina said at the pre-match media briefing.
Asked if his team’s past records against Chennaiyin FC gave him confidence that he can navigate a positive result against the hosts, the Spanish coach instead pointed to the present.
“I am absolutely confident. All of us are absolutely confident in the possibilities of our chances. I am absolutely confident in my team, my players, the way we are playing,” he said.
Defending champions Chennaiyin FC rescued their campaign with a win against FC Pune City in the previous game and will now feel confident they can grab a place among the top four. Marco Materazzi’s side had gone five matches without a win, their worst run in the ISL, but the Pune win has boosted confidence.
“It has been important,” Materazzi noted in his pre-match interaction, without elaborating.
Chennaiyin FC are unbeaten in their last four home matches. After conceding three goals in their first home match against Delhi Dynamos, Chennaiyin have conceded only one goal in their last four matches and accrued eight out of their 13 points at home. Only Delhi Dynamos (10) and Kerala Blasters (10) have won more points at home this season.
Interestingly, Chennaiyin FC have kept three clean sheets at home, the most by any home team and their defence has been rock steady, conceding just four goals in five matches.
The defence, though, will be under pressure against Atletico de Kolkata as it comes up against Canadian striker Iain Hume, the leading goal scorer in ISL history. Hume started the season slowly scoring both his first goals from penalties in the first phase. But just like ISL 2015, he found form in the second half of the campaign and scored in each of his last three matches.
Chennaiyin FC vs Atletico de Kolkata Prediction
Both teams need a win. But both are having problems at the back. A 2-2 draw is what we are going for.
Chennaiyin FC vs Atletico de Kolkata Live Stream Info
The game can be watched live on the Hotstar App.
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