Chennaiyin FC reached the final of the Indian Super League with an aggregate score of 4-2 even after they were defeated 2-1 in the second leg of the semi-final match against Atletico de Kolkata on Wednesday.
Chennaiyin FC, who are managed by former Italian defender Marco Materazzi, will now face former Brazilian legend Zico’s FC Goa in Sunday’s grand finale.
Dejan Lekic gave the hosts the early momentum in the 22nd minute and Iain Hume doubled their advantage with a stunning goal in the 87th to give Kolkata hope of taking the match into extra-time.
But, former ATK player Fikru Teferra’s last minute strike sealed the two-legged tie for Chennaiyin.
The hosts came into the match needing to overturn a disappointing 3-0 loss from the first leg and they dominated from the start in front of a vociferous home crowd of over 68,000 and were rewarded for their early pressure when Serbian striker Lekic scored after a defensive lapse.
An alert Lekic latched on to Chennaiyin defender Bernard Mendy’s weak header back to Edel Bete and got a deft touch on the ball before it could reach the goalkeeper.
Yet Bete, who played for Kolkata last season and made a huge contribution as they claimed the title, overcame the setback and denied his former team on numerous occasions during the course of the match.
Lekic continued to trouble the Chennaiyin defence and set up Hume to make it 2-0 with a rasping left-footed volley that gave the goalkeeper no chance.
With three minutes remaining and another five minutes of stoppage time to be added on, the raucous crowd sensed another Kolkata goal that would have levelled the tie at 3-3.
Iain Hume came very close when hit the crossbar with a header from a free kick in the 90th minute but their hopes were dashed when Fikru, who also played for Kolkata last season, scored to make it 4-2 on aggregate for Chennai.
Fikru calmly slotted home into an open goal to silence the Kolkata fans after a horrible misunderstanding between defender Mohan Raj and goalkeeper Amrinder Singh.