Chennaiyin FC had to settle for a 0-0 draw against a strong ATK Mohun Bagan side in the 42nd match of the Indian Super League (ISL) at the GMC Bambolim Stadium in Goa. This point helped ATK Mohun Bagan to climb to the top of the points table, but they have also played an extra game than Mumbai City FC.
Chennaiyin FC looked off the boil for the first couple of minutes but they quickly started to switch gears. The hard-working Jakub Sylvestr scythed through ATK Mohun Bagan’s defense with a cracking reverse pass. However, the skipper Rafael Crivellaro couldn’t score as Arindam Bhattacharya was strong at the near post. Chennaiyin FC only grew stronger with Lallianzuala Chhangte snatching a shot from the far post.
ATK Mohun Bagan came into the game slowly through some strong play by Roy Krishna. But the Fijian couldn’t find the target when a deflection fell in the right place for him.
ATK Mohun Bagan could have got their breakthrough in the 28th minute when Edu Garcia played a superb diagonal ball behind the Chennaiyin FC back-line. Aussie forward David Williams charged into the ball but he was taken down by Reagan Singh. Despite a raucous appeal from the entire ATK Mohun Bagan team, referee Rowan Arumughan didn’t concur.
After the cooling break, the game died down a little bit but there were still a few interesting moments. Rafael Crivellaro tried to come up with a goal directly from a corner-kick just like he did against FC Goa. Enes Sipovic arguably had the best chance of the half in the 43rd minute. Crivellaro’s free-kick to the far post was played into Sipovic’s path by Memo. However, the Bosnian directed it straight at Arindam Bhattacharya.
Once the second half began, Vishal Kaith delivered a long kick behind the ATK Mohun Bagan defense for Lallianzuala Chhangte. The Mizo winger came up with a fine shot but Arindam got his fingertips to make a superb save.
Chennaiyin FC still looked positive but they failed to take the right options in the final third. Crivellaro set up Jakub Sylvestr with a neat pass but the Slovakian striker dragged his shot wide. The most crucial point in the game came in the 63rd minute when Pronay Haldar brought down Crivellaro with a rash tackle. The creative Brazilian tried to continue but he had to be substituted off six minutes later.
Despite that injury, it was ATK Mohun Bagan who looked like a frustrated side. Reagan Singh forced Arindam to come up with a full-stretched dive to save a stinging shot in the 79th minute. After coming on as a substitute, Prabir Das tried to get ahead of Jerry Lalrinzuala and he did a decent job at that. However, the Chennaiyin FC defense didn’t let any space behind the backline for Roy Krishna to attack.
Having said that, Krishna came close to nicking the three points for ATK Mohun Bagan. He headed the ball wide of the post after Vishal Kaith had misjudged a cross from Subhasish Bose. In the end, it was probably a fair draw as both teams gave everything to the cause.
ISL 2020-21, CFC vs ATKMB: Who was the Hero of the Match
For the second match running, a goalkeeper bagged the ‘Hero of the Match’ award and it must be said that Arindam Bhattacharya fully deserved it. Arindam has improved by leaps and bounds ever since the playoffs in the previous ISL season.
Even though ATK Mohun Bagan have a resolute defense, Arindam has clean sheets from eight matches and a massive chunk of the credit must go to him. The West Bengal native’s positioning was so good that he managed to come up with saves of superb shots from Lallianzuala Chhangte and Reagan Singh.Published 30 Dec 2020, 00:50 IST