South African winger Sameehg Doutie helped hosts Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) overturn a deficit to hold reigning champions Chennaiyin FC to a 2-2 draw in an Indian Super League (ISL) football match here on Sunday.
Doutie stood between Chennaiyin and a win by scoring a goal and winning a penalty to inspire a comeback from a 1-2 deficit at the Rabindra Sarovar Stadium. Doutie (59th minute) scored either side of Chennayin’s two goals by Jayesh Rane (66 and 70) to keep the see-saw battle level at the end of ninety minutes. Atletico’s equalising goal from the penalty was scored by Canadian striker Ian Hume in the 86th minute.
Chennaiyin’s marquee player John Arne Riise hit the bar in the first half. The draw gives both teams a point from their first outings in the third season of the tournament.
The match - played at a new venue due to ATK’s original home the Salt Lake Stadium under construction for the U-17 World Cup, to be hosted by India next year - saw an attendance of 10,973 according to ISL. This stadium last hosted a game more than a decade ago.
ATK started with Debjit Mazumder in goal. Pritam Kotal and Robert Lalthlamuana were the full backs with Arnab Mondal and Tiri, playing at the heart of defence. Spanish Borja Fernandes and Bikramjit Singh pulled the strings in midfield with Spain’s Javi Lara and Doutie manning the flanks. Hume and Portuguese marquee player Helder Postiga were the two up front in a 4-4-2 formation.
The visitors had Riise in centre-back position along with the steely Bernard Mendy, with veteran Mehrajuddin Wadoo and N. Mohanraj completing the defensive line-up.
In midfield the Abhishek Bachchan co-owned franchise played Hans Mulder - who switched from rival team Delhi Dynamos - Raphael Augusto and Baljit Sahni. The trio of in-form India marksman Jeje Lalpekhlua, Italian Davide Succi and Mumbai FC’s Jayesh Rane were named as the attackers.
Riise had the best chance of half, the former Liverpool man’s stinging free kick coming off the underside of the bar taking a deflection leaving Debjit stranded. The hosts banked on counter attacks early with wide midfielders Lara and Doutie getting the better of Mohanraj and Wadoo more often than not.
Doutie, Hume and Postiga combined well to ruffle their rivals’ feathers and coach Marco Materazzi will be indebted to Mendy for repeatedly thwarting ATK’s forays.
Trying to stop one such raid, the inaugural champions won a free kick from 35 yards. Lara’s effort dipped viciously forcing a late punch from custodian Duwayne Kerr near the half time. It was goalless at the interval. The hosts were rewarded for their industriousness down the wings after the break. Postiga looped a measured ball for Doutie who had already outran Mohanraj, side-steeping the ball past Kerr to give his side the lead in the 59th minute.
But the tide changed soon, with Chennaiyin scoring twice in quick succession. First, Rane scored off Jeje’s pass taking the first touch neatly to fire home from close. Four minutes later, Mulder rode his luck to score off a deflection as Tiri failed to clear the ball.
Things were going well for Chennaiyin until the 86th minute when substitute Jerry Lalrinzuala pushed Doutie inside the box to earn a penalty. Hume tucked the penalty to the left of Kerr who got his fingertips but failed to keep the ball out.