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ISL Preview: Chennaiyin and Kolkata both look to gain upper hand in first leg semifinal

Photo Courtesy: ISL's official website
Photo Courtesy: ISL’s official website

Chennaiyin FC and Atletico de Kolkata come face to face in the first leg of the second 2015 Hero ISL semifinal at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune.

Chennaiyin FC

The Marina Machans did not exactly have the best of starts in the second edition of the Indian Super League, with Marco Materazzi’s side suffering back-to-back defeats against Atletico de Kolkata (2-3) and Delhi Dynamos (0-1) in their first two fixtures.

They went on to win their next two games against FC Goa (4-0) and Mumbai City (2-0), before again suffering a defeat against NorthEast United (0-2). After picking up four points following a win and a draw against Pune City (2-1) and Kerala Blasters (1-1) respectively, Chennaiyin’s form suddenly plummeted as they went on to register three consecutive defeats against Goa (0-2), NorthEast (1-2) and Atletico de Kolkata (1-2).

The Abhishek Bachchan co-owned side showed great strength of character to bounce back and book their place in the semifinals of the ISL, following successive victories against Kerala Blasters (4-1), Delhi Dynamos (4-0), Mumbai City (3-0) and Pune City (1-0) in their last four league fixtures.

However, the job is still not complete as Chennaiyin now find Atletico de Kolkata between themselves and the final of the 2015 ISL.

Despite Chennai losing both their fixtures against Kolkata in the league stages this season, Materazzi will not be too worried as his side are currently in red hot form, scoring 12 and conceding only a single goal in their last four fixtures.

Still, the Machans will not be taking this game too lightly as Kolkata are well capable of beating anyone.

Atletico de Kolkata

The defending champions have also had a pretty inconsistent season so far, with them not being able to maintain a win streak of more than three games.

After picking up seven points from their opening three fixtures, following two wins and a draw against Chennaiyin (3-2), Kerala Blasters (2-1) and FC Goa (1-1) respectively, the Sourav Ganguly co-owned side’s form saw a sharp dip as they suffered successive defeats against Pune City (1-0), NorthEast United (1-0) and Delhi Dynamos (1-0) in their next three fixtures.

Following a convincing 4-1 victory over Mumbai City in the succeeding game, the Royal Bengal Tigers went on to suffer another narrow 1-0 defeat against NorthEast United.

Kolkata soon rediscovered their lost form as they went on to collect 13 points from their next five fixtures against Kerala Blasters (3-2), Delhi Dynamos (1-1), Chennaiyin FC (2-1), FC Goa (4-0) and Pune City (4-1), before suffering a narrow 2-3 defeat against Mumbai City in their final league game.

However, Kolkata’s performances in the league stages are now history, and the only thing that will matter now is how they do in the semifinals.

Antonio López Habas will probably be a little relaxed ahead of his side’s first leg semifinal clash at Chennai considering the fact that Kolkata have already done the double over the Marina Machans in the league stages.

Still, Kolkata will be taking this match very seriously as a defeat in the first leg of the semifinal could prove disastrous.

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