ATK clinch third ISL title as Chennaiyin rue missed chances

ATK's Javi Hernandez celebrates his goal against Chennaiyin in the final. Ron Gaunt / SPORTZPICS for ISL

ATK claimed their third Indian Super League (ISL) title with a 3-1 victory over Chennaiyin FC in Fatorda in the final played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus on Saturday.

Chennaiyin dominated the first half, forcing ATK goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya into a number of saves, only to concede on the break as Javier Hernandez tapped in from a Roy Krishna cross.

ATK were dealt a huge blow in the 40th minute as their leading goalscorer Krishna had to come off due to an injury, but held on to the lead at half-time. They extended their lead early in the second half as David Williams set up Edu Garcia to finish with his left foot in the 48th.

Chennaiyin did find a goal back through Nerijus Valskis in the 69th minute, but ATK's ragged defending, combined with some crucial saves from Bhattacharya helped the Kolkata side maintain their lead. Hernandez then sealed the win for Antonio Habas' side with his second in added time as ATK clinched the title.

The win now means ATK will get the AFC Cup playoff spot reserved for the ISL final winners, with Goa having already secured the AFC Champions League spot after finishing top of the table in regular season. However, with ATK set to merge with I-League champions Mohun Bagan next season, there's still one more AFC Cup slot -- the direct entry spot reserved for the I-League champions. ESPN understands that if ATK do not want the playoff spot, they will be given the direct entry slot that Bagan will bring in, in which case the AFC Cup playoff spot will go to Chennaiyin as the ISL runners-up.