Last year’s semi-finalists Chennaiyin FC presently lie at the bottom of the 2015 Hero Indian Super League standings and desperately need a win when they take on defending champions Atlético de Kolkata at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday. ATK, on the other hand, may not be as desperate but with just four matches remaining for them in the league stage, a bad outing on Wednesday can cast doubts over their semi-final chances. Another challenge for the Antonio Lopez Habas-coached side is that they have lost two out of three matches at home this season and that is something the Spaniard will want to fix against the Super Machans.
Form Guide (Last 5 Matches)
Atlético de Kolkata: L-W-L-W-D
Chennaiyin FC: L-W-D-L-L
Head-to-Head: Last season, both their clashes ended in draws – 1-1 and 0-0. However, Atlético de Kolkata enjoyed a good start to the 2015 season with 3-2 win over hosts Chennai. It was their marquee signing Helder Postiga who inspired the win with two goals.
Seasoned centre-back Arnab Mondal is one of the mainstays of the ATK defence. His ability to break down the rival team’s play, both for ATK and India, has brought him plenty of recognition. His match-up with Stiven Mendoza promises to be exciting. The Colombian has already scored six goals and will be a big threat to ATK in view of his lightning pace and excellent shooting skills. His combination with Elano has been deadly this season, and Mondal definitely has a tough task on his hands.
Arata Izumi v Raphael Augusto
Slowly but steadily, Arata Izumi is making his way up the goal-scorers table. Even after missing a few games due to injury, the Japanese-Indian attacking midfielder has managed to hit the back of the net four times. His two goals went a long way towards securing a 3-2 win against Kerala Blasters FC early last week. Out of the options available for Chennai coach Marco Materazzi, Raphael Augusto is one player who could keep Kolkata in check. The Brazilian midfielder, playing his first season, has managed to help retain possession for the Super Machans.
Valdo v Alessandro Potenza
With marquee signing Helder Postiga not fully fit to resume his duties, the former Osasuna striker has Habas’ trust to lead the attacking charge. He has improved with every passing game and has hit the back of the net once. He is definitely going to be a key figure for ATK on Wednesday. While it’s mostly their attacking squad that stands them in good stead, Chennaiyin also does have top-class defenders like Alessandro Potenza. One of Materazzi’s most trusted lieutenants, Potenza’s 37 clearances have kept the opponents from gaining too much ground.
It’s a very important match for both of us. In this competition you win a game and you’ll get three points. We have to try and work hard and win the game: Atlético de Kolkata head coach Antonio Lopez Habas
We have very few games left and it’s going to be difficult. But all other teams are also very close on the points table, so we still have a chance to qualify, but we need to win 2-3 games for that: Chennaiyin FC head coach Marco Materazzi
Atlético de Kolkata:
Amrinder Singh, Juan Calatayud, Kunzang Bhutia (Lachungpa), Arnab Mondal, Denzil Franco, Nallappan Mohanraj, Syed Rahim Nabi, Dejan Lekic, José Luis Espinosa Arroyo (Tiri), Rino Anto, Lalchhawnkima, Augustin Fernandes, Sheikh Jewel Raja, Clifford Miranda, Borja Fernández, Ofentse Nato, Jaime Gavilan Martinez, Sameehg Doutie, Arata Izumi, Javier ‘Javi’ Lara Grande, Valmiro Lopes Rocha, Baljit Sahni, Nadong Bhutia, Hélder Postiga (marquee player), Sushil Kumar Singh, Iain Hume
Karanjit Singh, Nidhin Lal, Apoula Edel Bete, Éder Monteiro Fernandes, Justin Stephen, Bernard Mendy, Abhishek Das, Lalhmangaihsanga Ralte, L. Dhanachandra Singh, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Mailson Alves, Alessandro Potenza, Gilbert Oliveira, Elano Blumer (marquee player), Godwin Franco, Thoi Singh, Harmanjot Khabra, Raphael Augusto, Bruno Augusto Pelissari de Lima, Zakeer Mundampara, Manuele Blasi, Fikru Teferra Lamessa, Jayesh Rane, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Balwant Singh, John Stiven Mendoza Valencia.
– ISL Media