Chennaiyin FC head coach Marco Materazzi was a relieved man after securing a place in the final of the 2015 Hero Indian Super League. After Dejan Lekic and Iain Hume scored for defending champions Atlético de Kolkata at the Salt Lake Stadium on Wednesday, the Chennai camp looked anxious. However, a Fikru Teferra goal in stoppage time ensured qualification for them as they advanced 4-2 on aggregate. Materazzi, whose team had won the first leg 3-0 at Pune, admitted he was tense in the dying moments of the 2-1 defeat.
“My problem was that if we gave away one more goal and then there would have been a possibility for Kolkata to make it to the final and that’s why I was angry and tense,” the Italian told reporters after the match.
Chennaiyin went into the match on the back of five straight wins. When asked if the Super Machans had peaked at the right time after a poor start to the season, Materazzi said, “After all the consecutive losses [three in a row at one stage] we made it our strength. I always knew the potential of my players. I knew for me they were best players in the league and it just had to come out at a certain point and it did luckily at the right point. Now we just have to enjoy this final [against FC Goa in Goa on December 20].”
When asked if Kolkata were the better team on the night, Materazzi said: “Actually before the first goal, we had better chances than them. I want to congratulate [Iain] Hume for this season and also for the goal he shot. But I think our goal came at the very last minute and that helped reduce the pressure.”
Fikru stole the show for the Super Machans and when asked if he was going to have champagne with the Ethiopian striker, Materazzi said: “Actually I want to have champagne with the whole team right now because the whole team believes in itself and the whole team is attached to me.”
Materazzi also praised goalkeeper Apoula Edel who pulled off quite a few saves in the game and won the Hero-of-the-Match award.