The top two teams from the Indian Super League faced off against each other at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at Chennai. Atletico de Kolkata were on top of the table and were unbeaten going into the game against Chennai, who were their closest rivals.
The last time Atletico played was on October the 26th, when they drew 1-1 against the Kerala Blasters. Chennaiyin FC had decimated Mumbai City FC 5-1 in their last outing. The good news for Atletico de Kolkata was that marquee signing Luis Garcia started after recovering from a hamstring injury; Fikru was still serving his suspension for Atletico de Kolkata. Chennaiyin player-manager, Marco Materazzi started in the heart of defense for the home team.
It was a tale of two penalties and two red cards as the teams ended the match 1-1.
Kolkata start strong
Luis Garcia looked to be back on form when he passed brilliantly for Joffre in the 2nd minute but the cross from Joffre just went across the goal line. Garcia then had a cheeky attempt which was saved well by Shilton in the 6th minute.
It was time for Chennaiyin FC to have a go and Khabra put in a brilliant cross only for Atletico goalkeeper Edel to punch the danger clear. Denson had a go with a volley in the 19th minute but that was just above the Atletico de Kolkata crossbar.
Elano did brilliantly to win a free kick in the 26th minute and he almost scored yet another spectacular goal but his shot just went above the goal.
Penalty to Kolkata
Atletico de Kolkata were awarded a penalty in the 32nd minute when Shilton Paul brought down Rafi, the goal keeper Shilton was sent off as well as he denied a clear goal scoring opportunity. Chennaiyin FC had to sacrifice Maurice, a striker to bring on the substitute goalkeeper Bracigliano. Luis Garcia made no mistake to give the league leaders a 1-0 win with a well taken strike into the left corner of Bracigliano.
Even with 10 men, it was Chennaiyin FC who was doing all the running. Elano was a threat throughout the first half and was fouled time and again. He had another free kick go just wide in the 43rd minute, which should have served as a warning to Atletico de Kolkata. Valencia went close with a low cross which Edel handled well to keep the score at 1-0 for Atletico de Kolkata at half time.
Second half and Kolkata down to 10 men
The second half started with controversy when Joffre was sent off for a second bookable offence. The referee produced a 2nd yellow card to Joffre for a dive in the box but replays showed the decision was harsh as the defender did make contact with Joffre.
It was Chennaiyin FC constantly looking for an equalizer with Kolkata content on looking to hit on the counter. Atletico de Kolkata took off the hard working Rafi to bring on a more defensive Pradhan. Borja almost caught the Chennaiyin FC goal keeper off with an audacious effort from the half way line but Bracigliano did well to keep the ball out.
Edel was almost caught out when substitute Balwant crossed but the ball clipped the outside of the post to keep Kolkata in the lead. Chennaiyin FC won a penalty in the 90th minute when Mendoza was fouled by Kingshuk.
Elano made no mistake to score his 7th goal in the competition and helped Chennaiyin FC gain a point against Atletico de Kolkata.
Picture Courtesy: The Hindu