REUTERS – Chennaiyin FC reached the final of the Indian Super League with a 4-2 aggregate win against champions Atletico de Kolkata despite a dramatic 2-1 semi-final second leg defeat on Wednesday.
Chennaiyin FC, who are coached by ex-Italy defender Marco Materazzi, will face former Brazil great Zico’s FC Goa in Sunday’s showpiece.
Dejan Lekic gave the hosts the lead in the 22nd minute and Iain Hume doubled their advantage with a stunning goal in the 87th to give Kolkata hope of taking the match into extra-time.
Yet substitute Fikru Teferra’s strike in the final minute sealed the tie for Chennaiyin FC.
Needing to overturn a disappointing 3-0 loss from the first leg, Kolkata dominated from the start in front of a vociferous home crowd of over 68,000 and were rewarded for their early pressure when Serbian striker Lekic scored after a defensive lapse.
An alert Lekic latched on to Chennaiyin defender Bernard Mendy’s weak header back to Edel Bete and got a deft touch on the ball before it could reach the goalkeeper.
Yet Bete, who played for Kolkata last season and made a huge contribution as they claimed the title, overcame the setback and denied his former team on numerous occasions during the course of the match.
Lekic continued to trouble the Chennaiyin defence and set up Hume to make it 2-0 with a rasping left-footed volley that gave the goalkeeper no chance.
With three minutes remaining and another five minutes of stoppage time to be added on, the raucous crowd sensed another Kolkata goal that would have levelled the tie at 3-3.
Hume hit the crossbar with a header from a free kick in the 90th minute but their hopes were dashed when Fikru, who also played for Kolkata last season, scored to make it 4-2 on aggregate for Chennai.
Fikru calmly slotted home into an open goal to silence the Kolkata fans after a horrible misunderstanding between defender Mohan Raj and goalkeeper Amrinder Singh.
Kolkata are owned by a consortium that includes Spain’s Atletico Madrid and former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly.
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Toby Davis)