Free Press Journal

We should not forget ATK are still champions: Materazzi


Kolkata: Chennaiyin FC coach Marco Materazzi on Tuesday said they would not forget that Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) are still the champions and have the capability to overturn the three-goal deficit in the second leg of the Indian Super League (ISL) semi-finals.

Chennaiyin go into Wednesday’s encounter with a foot already in the final as they have beaten ATK 3-0 in the first leg at Pune. But Materazzi’s side is also aware of the surprise that ATK can pull off.

“We are not taking the game lightly. We should not forget that Atletico are still the champions,” Materazzi told reporters here.

The 2006 FIFA World Cup winner with Italy also said that they were preparing hard for the game as they have to play in front of around 60,000 people at the stadium.

The last time these two sides met here at the Salt Lake stadium ATK had bagged the contest 2-1. However, Materazzi believes the defeat in turn helped them toughen up and do well in the tournament thereafter.

“It wasn’t actually a defeat. It gave us the strength to do well in the rest of the league,” he said.

The 42-year-old said he knows that his outfit has the advantage going into the game on Wednesday but added that they will still give their best.

“Tomorrow Kolkata will have to do something new. Even though we know we have the advantage, we will try and give our best.”

Asked if the unavailability of Borja Fernandez and Ofentse Nato for ATK would prove to be a boon for them, the player-turned-tactician said: “They are two very good players, Borja is their captain too but whoever fills in their shoes will put in everything they have.”

Materazzi added that the league is giving Indian football an opportunity to grow and that it should continue on this track.