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ISL Results: Chennaiyin take a big leap towards final after crushing Kolkata in first leg semifinal

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Photo Courtesy: ISL’s official website

Chennaiyin FC have all but confirmed their place in the final of the 2015 Hero ISL following a crushing 3-0 win over Atletico de Kolkata in the first leg semifinal in Pune.

Bruno Pelissari’s first half opener coupled with strikes from Jeje Lalpekhlua and Stiven Mendoza after the break proved too much for the Royal Bengal Tigers, who failed to make any impact in the match.

Marco Materazzi opted to make three changes to his side that lost to Atletico de Kolkata in their last league fixture, with Bruno Pelisari, Bernard Mendy (both suspended) and Alessandro Potenza making way for Bruno Pelisari, Bernard Mendy and Zaheer Mundampara respectively.

Antonio López Habas also made three changes to his side as Ofetnse Nato, Augustin Fernandes, and Amrinder Singh replaced Mohammed Rafique, Mohan and Calatayud respectively.

Chennai almost got off to a perfect start after ISL top scorer John Stiven Mendoza nearly found the nets in the 2nd minute of the game. The Colombian, after collecting the ball from a throw in, forced an uncomfortable save from Amrinder Singh.  Mendoza got a second bite of the apple after the rebound fell to him, but Amrinder was again able to make a save.

The Super Machans got another chance in the 13th minute, when Pelissari’s corner was flicked on by Borja towards Dhanachandra. However, in the end, the move came to nothing as the defender wastefully headed the ball over.

Six minutes later, Chennaiyin’s Bruno Pelissari tired his luck from range, but his effort, which had sufficient power, failed to find the target.

Kolkata’s first chance of the game came in the 23rd minute, when Ian Hume picked out Jaime Gavilán with a terrific flick. Although the Spaniard was outmuscled by Chennai’s defence just outside the box, the ball fell to Arata Izumi, who eventually wasted the opportunity as he failed to hit the target.

Just before the half hour mark, a quick counter-attack resulted in Kolkata advancing dangerously towards the box. Sameehg Doutie was completely unmarked inside the box, but Hume’s cross was too heavy and the ball flew towards the opposite end for a throw in.

Chennaiyin’s continued attacks finally bore fruit as they went ahead through a Pelissari free-kick in the 39th minute. Kolkata conceded a free-kick in a dangerous position after Gaivilan fouled Blasi, some 30 yards from goal. Pelissari stepped up and made no mistakes as he curled a fantastic free-kick past Amrinder’s outstretched arms.

Kolkata captain Borja Fernandez’s evening came to an early end as he was replaced by Dejan Lekic in the 42nd minute following an unspecified injury.

Lekic had a chance to make an immediate impact in the 44th minute, when Doutie, after being released by Hume via an inch perfect through ball, crossed the ball towards the Serbian. However, the chance went begging after Lekic failed to make contact with Doutie’s delivery.

Two minutes into the second half, Lekic got another opportunity after he was given too much space outside the box. The Serbian fired an effort, but his effort was just inches wide of the far post.

Chennayin got another opportunity in the 53rd minute after Khabra’s pass was flicked on by Thoi Singh towards Jeje. The Mizo forward was through on goal, but Amrinder came off his line and swept the ball off Jeje’s feet.

However, Amrinder’s heroics proved to be in vain as the Marina Machans soon doubled their lead through Jeje in the 56th minute. A long ball from Augustin found Mendoza in a very dangerous position on the left side the box. Amrinder again came off his line, but this time he failed to clear the ball. In the end, the Colombian squared the ball towards Jeje, who smashed the ball home from close range.

Things went from bad to worse for Kolkata after Mendoza tripled Chennaiyin’s advantage in the 68th minute. Jeje sent a lofted ball over the Atletico’s defence towards Mendoza, and the Colombian made no mistakes as he calmly slotted past Amrinder at his near post.

Materazzi’s side got a couple of more chances to put further distance between themselves and Kolkata, but they failed to convert and the game finally ended 3-0.

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