Riding on a Javi Hernandez brace and a solitary strike from Edu Garcia, coupled with a brilliant performance from goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya, ATK defeated Chennaiyin FC 3-1 to be crowned Indian Super League (ISL) champions for the record third time at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda on Saturday.
Notably, the final was held behind closed doors because of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus which has claimed over 5,000 lives worldwide and has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Although Chennaiyin launched attack after attack in the initial minutes of the match, they were unable to open the scoring since either their shots were off target or found Arindham Bhattacharya, who was as safe as a house on Saturday.
Consequently, ATK led 1-0 in the first half, courtesy a goal from Hernandez set by a beautiful assist by in-form Roy Krishna.
ATK never looked back from there. Garcia extended Kolkata’s lead as he scored early in the second half and made it extremely difficult for Chennaiyin to stage a comeback, given the pressure of the final.
Although Valskis managed to reduce the deficit in the 69th minute, the second goal of the night for Hernandez which came in the stoppage time in the second half ensured that Cheanniyin ended up second best on the night and it was ATK who were crowned champions.
Both the teams were coming on the back of brilliant performances in the play-offs. While Chennaiyin had got the better of FC Goa as they edged them 6-5 on aggregates, ATK also did exceedingly well to send the defending champions Bengaluru FC out of the tournament and reach the finals.
When it came to the finals though, it was ATK which proved to be the better team as the Antonio Lopez Habas managed side not only bagged their third title but also bagged a spot in the AFC Cup.