The wins are drying up for Atletico de Kolkata. The last time they won was on October 23 away to FC Goa. This was also the first time since then that the red stripes had no one missing due to suspension.
"We needed a little bit of luck today (Friday). I really can't fault the players. In fact, I would like to congratulate them. We will have to continue," said head coach Antonio Lopez Habas after yet another draw on Friday, Atletico de Kolkata's fourth in eight games.
For the first time in the Indian Super League (ISL), Atletico de Kolkata also did not score. And it happened against a Chennaiyin FC who played a makeshift defence for the last 17 minutes as the match finished in a goalless draw.
Like in Chennai, Atletico de Kolkata kept ISL's highest scorer Elano Blumer quiet. Atletico de Kolkata again kept the ball, showed glimpses of magic - Joffre Gonzalez went past three players but shot out finding the ball on his weak right foot in the 59th minute - and skipper Luis Garcia was easily the best player on the pitch. But the finishing touch eluded them. In no small measure was that due to Chennaiyin FC's central defensive combination of Marco Materazzi and Mikael Silvestre.
Together they reined in targetman Fikru Lemessa after trying to soften the big Ethiopian with tough tackles early on Friday. Yet with little help from Garcia and Ofentse Nato, Lemessa found space down the middle but shot out after a slick move. It set the trend for the evening.
An Italian job on Lemessa's head earned Materazzi a booking and thereafter, Chennaiyin FC's back three looked a little shaky. Silvestre conceded a free-kick after Lemessa cruised past in the 62nd minute. Garcia's effort was probably the best in the ISL that didn't fetch a goal, caressing the horizontal instead.
After both Materazzi, 41, and Silvestre, 37, were taken off, Lemessa found goalie Gennaro Bracigiliano out of position but couldn't keep his balance and direct the shot. It was just one of those nights when the ball wouldn't go in for them.
Lights go out
The Salt Lake Stadium has a history of power outages and on Friday, with Amitabh Bachchan watching, the ISL was added to the list. A part of the floodlights switched off in the 36th minute leading to an 11-minute stoppage.