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ISL: ATK defeat a tough result to swallow for Chennaiyin FC

06:08 WAT 31/10/2019
Chennaiyin FC vs ATK
After succumbing to their second defeat in three games, Chennaiyin FC are not in a good head space right now...

It seems that Chennaiyin FC are yet to put the shambles of the previous Indian Super League (ISL) season where they finished rock bottom behind them, if their start to the current season is anything to go by.

Three games into the campaign and all they have to show for is a point, gained after a goalless draw against Mumbai City. Their latest result, a 1-0 home defeat to ATK means they are yet to find the back of the net this season, despite having overhauled their entire foreign contingent bar Eli Sabia.

The statistics are dire, perhaps more than what the actual situation might be. Chennaiyin are now winless in six straight ISL games and have now played out 13 consecutive halves without scoring. They last scored in a half of football (in ISL) against Bengaluru FC at home when they managed two goals in the first half.

Though seven of those 13 halves came last season, the warning signs are there for Gregory. The Englishman might already be fearing a repeat of last season, given the way his forward line has been misfiring. 

Against ATK, it could be said that Chennaiyin showed the initiative and drive, especially after conceding where for large periods, they laid siege to ATK's goal. But a combination of factors meant that the goal remained elusive.

There appears to be a lack of imagination among the forward line, especially in the final third. Rafael Crivellaro, Dragos Firtulescu and Lallianzuala Chhangte were all guilty of poor choices. Nerijus Valskis battled away but fluffed whatever chances that came his way and the same could be said about Andre Schembri.

Chennaiyin FC need that first goal and fast. The fact that they have not scored is already starting to play on the minds of the players and will remain there until their next match -  a tough one away to Bengaluru.

There were chances, yes. In the first half, however, most of the chances came as a result of defensive mistakes from ATK. Chhangte, in particular, looked confused in the final third, opting to pass when he had to shoot and vice versa. 

Their decision-making and co-ordination in the final third needs massive improvements, despite dominating the match and creating several chances in the second half.

Defensively, Chennaiyin looked solid against a dangerous ATK attack which had pace to burn. But one mistake was all it took for them to concede. Tondonba Singh allowed Prabir Das to get behind him and Lucian Goian put in a lazy block from Javier Hernandez's shot, meaning David Williams had a tap in.

ATK's game plan coming into the match was simple. Sit tight, grab a goal and defend it. They executed it well though defensive mistakes almost let Chennaiyin score. While critics of their style would point out the number quality attack-minded players ATK have and how they are not putting them to the best use, football remains a result-oriented sport.

ATK struggled with results in the last two seasons despite spending money and now they have brought Antonio Habas back to rectify that. While they played incisive football against Hyderabd FC and won 5-0 at home, they put results above performance in Chennai.

Chennaiyin FC coach John Gregory would have given anything if his team could've ground out a result like what ATK did last night!