ISL 2015 2nd semi-final preview: Atletico de Kolkata to take on Chennaiyan FC

atletico kolkata vs chennaiyin fcDefending champions Atletico de Kolkata will be taking on Chennaiyin FC in the second play-off in the second edition of the Indian Super League(ISL). The match will be held in FC Pune City's homeground Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex instead of Chennai's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, as Chennai is under waters due to heavy rain and severe floods. This will definitely be a huge setback for the Chennai side as they miss out the chance to play in their homeground and in front of their home fans.

Barring this, both the teams look a balanced side as they both have peaked in the closing stages of the league to secure a play-off berth. Chennaiyan Fc have been undefeated for the last four matches, whereas ATK was in a superb form as they won three consecutive home matches before Mumbai City FC stopped their victory run in their last match.

ATK will gain inspiration from the fact they defeated the Chennai side twice in the league encounters. Coached by Antonio Lopez Habas, ATK overcomed a mid-league slump to secure the second position in the league table. Their goalkeeper, Amrinder Singh, has been a revelation of the tournament and once again he will back under the ATK goal post for his team. The defence consisting of Rino Anto, Arnab Mondal, Tiri and Augustin Fernandes has been in good form as they will have to handle a lethal threat in the form of Mendoza. ATK's highly decorated midfield stars skipper Borja, Gavilan, Nato, Arata Izumi and Samegh Doutie. The latter two have played an essential role in ATK's dream run with their speed, skills and goal scoring abilities. Coming to the forward position, Ian Hume will be their point man.

Hume has been the impact player for ATK so far, scoring 10 goals and four assists and will pose major threat to the Chennaiyan defence. The combined effort of Gavilan, Arata, Doutie and Hume has done wonders for the Kolkata-based side and coach Habas will only hope that the quadruple implicates their earlier performances. Whether Habas will field marquee player Helder Postiga, who is said to have recovered from injuries alongside Hume wil also be interesting to see.

Coming to the Chennai side, they have some bad news as they wil miss the services of marquee player Elano and defender Mehrajuddin Wadoo due to suspensions. Still coach Materazzi can rely on the rest of his boys to get the match in their favour. Edel Bete will be under the bars while in the Mendy, Potenza and Dhanachandra Singh will comprise the defence. In the midfield, Chennaiyin will have Khabra, Rapahael Augusto, Bruno Pelissari and Thoi Singh. Colombian Stiven Mendoza, who has scored 11 goals for his team so far, will be their key striker along with Indian Jeje Lalpekhlua, who solitary goal against Pune City FC helped his team to qualify for the semis.

Mendoza, just like Hume, is a profilic striker with exceptional footballing skills and goal scoring abilities. But a major concern for the Chennai side has been that they have conceded far too many penalties during their league phase which they will have to rectify. They have returned to form in the correct time and would try their best to keep up the rhythm in this match.

Probable XI:

Atletico de Kolkata: Amrinder(GK), Rino, Arnab, Tiri, Augustin, Nato, Borha(C), Gavilan, Arata,Doutie, Hume

Chennaiyin FC:

Edel(GK), Mendy(C), Abhishek, Potenza, Dhana, Pelissari, Khabra, Raphael, Thoi, Jeje, Mendoza

By Dipayan Saha