Self destruction is usually defined as “the voluntary destruction of something by itself.” In human terms we are talking about counter-productive and ultimately self-destructive behaviour patterns which can cause irreparable damage, either deliberately or inadvertently. It’s a fatal umbrella for a variety of self-damaging tendencies from doing things that always seem to backfire, to habitual self-harm, to suicidal recklessness. The match between Atletico de Kolkata and Chennaiyin FC was a veritable display of all three in various phases.
And let me add with a little caution, if ATK don’t change, they will pay a price too dear sooner than later.
ATK began like a clever moocher soaking in all the verve of the home team before bursting out in counterattacks. It was from one of the counter when Luis Garcia, please all take a bow, sent an adventurous ball into the penalty box that Md Rafi latched on to before being brought down by Chennaiyin FC goalie Shilton Paul. Garcia walks up and scores from the spot. 1-0 for ATK. Chennaiyin FC down to 10 men. Game set and match all would say.
Garcia’s penetration, Borja’s prodigal run, Jofre’s intelligence in the final third was slowly making life difficult for Chennai. Garcia tested Bracigliano with a sharpshooter. Then Borja sent a teasing aerial ball from the Beckham zone that had the lanky goalie backtrack gingerly only in time to keep the trajectory out. Baljit made a mess of a volley from close.
It was time to sit back. Slow down. Enjoy. And feed on time like a hungry leech. But then referee walks into the scene and acts as the proverbial biblical serpent inducing into Jofre the viral Narcissist syndrome. He collects the first yellow of the match for an unnecessary walk over on Elano. The germs of destruction had set in.
After the change over, Jofre carried on where he left. Only this time he was brought down by Gourmangi Singh and ATK should have got a penalty and Gourmangi Singh a yellow. Instead the ref thought Borja did enough play acting for one evening. A second yellow for simulation and suddenly Chennai got a lifeline. ATK paid the price for their habitual self-harm.
Thereafter the game had slowed down, picked pace and went along the sidewalk as tired legs and frayed nerves took over. Balwant and Jeje were injected into the match to yield result, Sanju and Masih brought in to maintain status quo. Balwant nearly scored thought unwittingly and Mendy put plug on a bullet that Sanju triggered.
And after a series of such anti-climax as the match had slipped into injury time, Kingshuk does the unthinkable. A suicidal moment of recklessness saw Chennai’s Valencia brought down and Elano Blumer doesn’t need a second invite to score from the spot. ATK threw away the three points they had in their coffer and much like a vagrant moocher returned with just one point, five yellow cards and one red.
Still undefeated. Still on top. But only just. With time running out of the hourglass!