As bottom Indian Super League club Chennaiyin FC went down to a highflying Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) at the Salt Lake Stadium in the City of Joy, there seemed to be little joy left in the Marina Machans’ camp. Manager Marco Materazzi seemed to have fuelled the flames of a rift in the camp by confirming that their top scorer Stiven Mendoza was not injured.
Mendoza, who is the joint top scorer of the Indian Super League (ISL) with India captain Sunil Chhetri, was left on ominously left on the bench by Materazzi in this crucial match, as whispers of a rift already started floating around.
However, it was when Mendoza was not brought on even after ATK went ahead 2-1, and Fikru kept on missing chances, that the real doubts started to creep up. Mendoza was seen dejectedly shaking his head, as Materazzi seemingly kept on ignoring his presence on the bench.
There was the possibility of course, that Mendoza was carrying an injury, which is why the Italian World Cup winner was being cautious with him. However, those doubts were completely blown away by Materazzi, after the match.
“No, Mendoza is not injured. If Fikru was playing that means he is in good shape,” said Materazzi.
By confirming that Mendoza was kept on the bench in spite of being fully fit, Materazzi seems to have fanned the flames of the rumours of a discord within the Chennaiyin FC camp. With the side being at the bottom of the ISL right now, it would be interesting to see whether the Italian turns to Mendoza for the last four matches of Chennaiyin FC.
Materazzi takes a dig at the referee
Chennaiyin FC might have felt that were on the wrong side of most of the referee’s decisions, and manager Materazzi reiterated this point in the post match press conference.
“The pitch was good. There were two very good teams battling against each other. There was only one thing I would have changed,” said Materazzi, indicating to the referee.
The Marina Machans would have felt that their goalkeeper Karanjit Singh was impeded, just before Doutie scored the equalising goal for ATK on the stroke of half time. They also have a dicey penalty appeal turned down in the second half.
However, it was their inability to create enough chances, that did Chennaiyin FC in at the end. It would be interesting to see whether they can bounce back in their last four matches.
With inputs from Archak Sengupta
. Image Courtesy: ISL Media Team