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2-min read

ISL: Chennaiyin FC hold nerves against ATK to set up final clash with FC Goa

Chennaiyin FC qualified for the final with an aggregate score of 4-2, thanks to their stunning 3-0 victory in the first leg.

Agencies

Updated:December 16, 2015, 9:27 PM IST
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ISL: Chennaiyin FC hold nerves against ATK to set up final clash with FC Goa
Chennaiyin FC qualified for the final with an aggregate score of 4-2, thanks to their stunning 3-0 victory in the first leg.
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Atletico de Kolkata's former players returned to haunt them as the defending champions bowed out of the Hero Indian Super League despite a 2-1 victory in the second leg semifinal in Kolkata on Wednesday.

Chennaiyin FC qualified for the final with an aggregate score of 4-2, thanks to their stunning 3-0 victory in the first leg. Chennaiyin FC will now face FC Goa in the final to be played in Goa on December 20.

Dejan Lekic scored in the 22nd minute to provide hope for Atletico de Kolkata at the start and then Iain Hume scored a gem of a goal to make it 2-0 with just three minutes on the clock. The three minutes left to be played and additional time promised an exciting battle but Chennaiyin FC had the last laugh after Fikru Tefera pulled a goal back for the visitors in the 90th minute.

It was a dramatic end to the contest with Kolkata coach Antonio Lopez Habas sent to the stands. Kolkata, however, had their own to blame as former players, Fikru and goalkeeper Edel Bete, were heroes for rivals. Fikru and Edel had both played big roles in last year’s winning campaign for Kolkata.

Bete in particular showed impressive form for Chennaiyin FC. The goalkeeper was eventually named Hero-of-the-Match for his hand in stopping attempts from Lekic, Hume and Samegh Doutie throughout the engrossing 90-minute battle.

Kolkata knew they had a mountain to climb in the second semi-final and needed an early goal. They pressed hard with Lekic troubling the rival defenders and the hosts found the breakthrough in the 22nd minute.  It was a result of some shoddy defending from Chennaiyin FC defender Bernard Mendy who ended up with a weak header back to Edel and Lekic seized the opportunity with a swift touch.

The goal encouraged Kolkata with Lekic in particular looking most dangerous. The Serbian striker tried his best to increase the lead but the rival goalkeeper proved a hard nut to crack.

Kolkata’s next success came only towards the fag end of the match, probably too late to launch another onslaught. The goal, though, had class written all over it and was a moment of superb excellence. Hume combined brilliantly with Lekic just outside the box and latched on to the return pass with a first-time left-footed volley that gave no chance whatsoever to the Chennaiyin FC goalkeeper.

It seemed like game on for the last few minutes until Fikru took the field and knocked his former side out of the Indian Super League. The Ethiopian striker pounced on a defensive lapse after Mohan Raj and goalkeeper Amrinder Singh made a mess of a throw-in, leaving the goal open for Fikru to strike.

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