After disappointingly crumbling under the pressure by losing their first game in the Super Cup, Chennaiyins season came to an end. But, all being said it was one to remember as they gained their second title, beating Bengaluru in the final. The Super Cup defeat to Aizawl FC was a bitter way to finish the campaign but could not change the fact that they tasted success once more.
We like to bring new ideas up on the website whenever we can and starting the monthly reviews of every club sounds hard, but that’s what we do. This is first I have been able to complete and taking on the Champions is something I will do anytime!
Anyway, lets go back in time, back to November. Chennaiyin were given the task of what would be in the end of keeping the most prolific attacking outfit in the league quiet. They were to welcome FC Goa to Chennai. To say it was going to be a disappointing start could be an understatement.
FC Goa (H) 2-3
You always remember the first game of the season. The hype surrounding it and the different kind of atmosphere and expectancy that surrounds the stadium. Fans and players alike think to themselves, lets start strong and send a message out to the rest of the league. This was the exact opposite to what it actually turned out to be in Chennaiyins case.
38 minutes in to the new campaign they were 3-0 down at home, suffering what many would call an absolute nightmare start. Two goals in the space of four minutes from Coro and Lanzarote, really gave Goa a foothold in the match. Things got even worse ten minutes later when Mnadar Rao Dessai calmly slotted it in to the bottom corner to make it three.
So then, it all falls down to the magic of the half time talk, could John Gregory mastermind a comeback or could it of got more embarrassing, if that was possible at this stage.
Nothing was suggesting that Chennaiyin could get back into this one, but for a goalkeeping error in the 70th minute. Inigo Calderon hit a weak free-kick straight at Kattimani and the Goa stopper let the ball somehow slip through his grasp to hand a lifeline. That lifeline became even bigger when Raphael Augusto tucked away an 85th minute penalty to make it 2-3.
It wasn’t enough in the end, as Goa held on to hand Chennaiyin the worst possible start they could of wished for. A lacklustre home defeat.
NorthEast United (H) 3-0
Back to back home games and a chance to right their first wrong of the season for Chennai.
If the first home game started with a collapse, the second home game started in the exact opposite manner for Chennaiyin. 24 minutes in and they were flying, 2-0 to the good and more like the team we have become accustomed too since the start of the ISL.
The importance of Raphael Augusto in November was critical for the hosts and he was involved in both first-half goals. His powerful drive towards goal was headed into his own net in embarrassing style by NorthEast defender, Abdul Hakku. This first goal gave Chennai the impetus to push forward and get another.
It was the Brazilian Augusto once more at the heart of it all. Gregory Nelson’s pass was deflected to the midfielder and he cooly slotted it past the onrushing keeper to make it 2-0.
In all honesty, the away side never really challenged in this one. Chennaiyin were able to dominate the game for the entirety of the contest, and put the icing on the cake five minutes from time.
After Jaime Gavilan hit the crossbar with a sweet freekick, Mohammed Rafi ran in to head home and really assert the home sides dominance in this game.
It was a contrasting start to say the least for John Gregory’s men, but with a good goal difference and three points out of six, it was a platform to kick on. How would December turn out for the Men in Blue? There were SIX games to look forward too, including tricky away fixtures at Pune, Bengaluru and Mumbai.