Defending champions Atletico de Kolkata will be looking to come back from a three goal deficit when they face Chennaiyin FC in the second leg of the Indian Super League (ISL) semi-finals in their way to the finals on Wednesday.
Though the job at hand is tough, it is not beyond Atletico’s reach. ATK coach Habas and his men would like to believe that they can pull it off, but then in the first leg match at Pune, Chennaiyin had beaten ATK 3-0.
The hosts need to score at least thrice and not concede and hope they come out on top in the penalty shootout.
But it is easier said than done. Chennaiyin would leave no stone unturned to ensure they safely reach the final on December 20.
On Saturday, Chennai decimated the white and red brigade at Pune, where the former had to play their home leg because of the flood situation in their city. What came as a surprise was that Atletico, who were having it easy finding the back of the net in the last few outings, could not do so that day.
However, former India cricket captain and ATK co-owner Sourav Ganguly is still hopeful of a turnaround.
“Yes, I am hopeful. Let’s see if we can get a 3-0 result here and then get to the shootout. We have beaten Chennaiyin previously and I don’t see why we cannot do it again. But in the first leg they played better,” Ganguly told reporters here on Monday.
Ganguly’s hopes will be pinned on the likes of Iain Hume and Arata Izumi who have been on the ATK scoresheet consistently. But what will give him nightmares is the fact that winger Sameegh Doutie and defensive midfielder Borja Fernandez are both injured and might not be ready in time for the clash.
For Chennai, they will have a three-goal cushion to rest their head on. Marco Materazzi would rely on his defence to do the job and maybe hit Kolkata hard on the counters, using the pace of Stiven Mendoza and the technical ability of Brazilian playmaker Elano Blumer who is all set to comeback into the team after missing the last tie due to suspension.
ATK will however, take confidence from the fact that they have won two of their three matches against Chennaiyin this season, but a 3-0 deficit is always difficult to overturn.
Spanish giants FC Barcelona had made such a comeback in the 2012-2013 season of the Champions League when they beat AC Milan 4-0 at Camp Nou in reply to their first leg loss of 2-0. But will Atletico have the same drive, the passion to do it? Or will it be too easy for the men from Chennai?