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Chennaiyin to play semifinal’s home leg in Pune

The recent rains that ravaged the city have forced the Indian Super League organisers to move the home leg of Chennaiyin’s FC’s semifinal against Atletico de Kolkata to Pune.

The match will be played at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium on December 12.

“IMG-Reliance and Star India, along with the Chennaiyin FC management, conclude to the decision of moving the club’s home ground to Pune, after evaluating all possibilities for Chennai to host the semifinal match,” a press statement from the organisers said.

The team’s home venue, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, has suffered only slight damage, and a visit to the stadium on Wednesday evening found the pitch and the surrounding running track in relatively good condition.

It is, however, believed that the overstretched local authorities are not in a position to offer the support necessary to host a sporting event of this magnitude.

“We had teams there assessing the situation since yesterday, and logistically it seemed a no-go. The threat of further rain still looms large, and you have to also take into account the emotions of the people,” a league official said.

The news will come as a dampener to the club’s support base, and Marco Materazzi and his boys will also be at a disadvantage. The team has won four of its seven home matches this term, backed by the vociferous fans at the ‘Marina Arena’.

“The decision was particularly difficult as Chennaiyin FC’s fans have displayed immense passion and fortitude to support their club through thick and thin this season. But it was one which had to be taken, keeping in mind the current situation in Chennai,” the statement added.

The fans, though disappointed, understand the logic behind the move.

“The rains have been devastating. We totally agree with the League’s decision to move the match to Pune,” said Krishnakumar, who runs the @Chennaiyinfans account on Twitter.

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