Chennaiyin FC were beaten 2-3 by ATK in a five-goal thriller at their own backyard in the 2018-19 Indian Super League (ISL) on Sunday.
Jayesh Rane (14') scored the opener with ATK skipper Manuel Lanzarote (44' Pen. & 80' Pen.) finding the back of the net twice from the spot. Thoi Singh (24') and Isaac Vanmalsawma (88') scored two goals for the home side at the Marina Arena.
The newfound lineup and formation stuck with Chennaiyin FC despite failing to finish off their chances against Kerala Blasters midweek.
Pronay Halder’s suspension allowed Noussair El Maimouni to slot into the centre of the park. That also meant Everton Santos had to give way to Balwant Singh to balance the foreign quota.
The league had seen three goalless draws in the last four days but the game began on a totally different note. Both parties had their fair share of chances in the opening few minutes but it was Jayesh Rane’s opportune moment that broke the deadlock.
Before goalkeeper Sanjiban Ghosh could understand how to react, former Chennaiyin FC man Rane slammed the ball hard from range into the top corner from 27 yards out.
On the other end, Thoi Singh made amends for his miss in the last game to equalize matters for the hosts. Andrea Orlandi, who himself had two misses in the first half, overhit the corner but Isaac Vanmalsawma controlled it on the other end.
Mailson Alves then laid it for Thoi, who slotted the ball home, bringing up his fourth goal of the campaign.ATK kept on looking dangerous and with the first half drawing to a close, skipper Lanzarote stepped up.
His passing play inside the box flummoxed the Chennaiyin defence, which ultimately led to the penalty incident. Eli Sabia stuck out a hand to Hitesh Sharma’s shot and the Spaniard himself finished off the move by making no mistake from the six-yard spot.
The visitors regained their lead going into the second period. However, Chennaiyin came out all guns blazing after the change of ends and also used up all three substitutions before the hour mark.
Jeje Lalpekhlua was one of the victims there, after he squandered the only opportunity he got in the opposition box.
It was the last quarter of the game when chances for both sides gave way to the goals again. Substitute Carlos Salom pulled off a double goal-line clearance from a corner but was controversially shown a card by referee A Rowan as he attempted to shield his face from Hitesh's high boot.
Although, he had touched the ball with his hands and gifted yet another penalty to the Kolkata side for Lanzarote to execute without any difficulties whatsoever.
Thoi Singh, for all his efforts, had an assist to show late on as he crossed the ball for Isaac Vanmalsawma to slice the ball in for his first ever ISL goal. However, it was all too late to stage a comeback and ATK walked away with all three points in Chennai for the first time in ISL history.
The Steve Coppell-coached side level themselves on points with Jamshedpur FC and are just a place outside the top four.