Super Cup Proper Kicks Off As Chennaiyin Crash Out On Penalties

Match Report Indian Super League

An Andrei Ionescu inspired Aizawl saw off Chennaiyin as the I-League side came out eventual winners after twice taking the lead. The aforementioned Ionescu struck as early as the twenty-second minute to put Aizawl in the ascendancy and it seemed like that goal alone would be enough to see Aizawl through to the last eight. That was up until the last minute of normal time, Mailson, who scored a brace in the ISL final, was the quickest to react when the ball came back off the crossbar, his effort meant that the game went into extra time.

Ionescu On The Double

I’m not too sure what Gregory said in the dressing room, but bloody hell, they started extra time badly. It took Ionescu all of thirty seconds to put Aizawl back in the lead, nonetheless, Chennai weren’t going to go down without a fight and with just seven minutes of extra time left to play, Dhanachandra brought the game level once more. From that point, I would have backed Chennaiyin to win. I would’ve been wrong. Shock horror.

Aizawl were faultless from the spot as they scored all five of their penalties, Mohammed Rafi was the guilty party for Chennaiyin as his shot flew over the bar. Rule number one of taking a penalty, hit the fucking target! Then again, with an English manager in John Gregory, it’s difficult to be surprised.

This was a Chennaiyin side that looked unrecognisable to the one that saw off Bengaluru to lift the ISL trophy which is no shock as right from the very beginning, Gregory has been completely disinterested in the tournament and I very much doubt he’ll be losing any sleep over this defeat. If you also take into consideration that neither Jeje or Augusto played either, then Gregory’s post-match comments will come as little surprise…

“We’ve had a very long season and have had to work extremely hard in every single match. We’ve had 170 training days since October 1st where everyone had to mentally and physically be prepared for the training, travelling and to win matches. It culminated in us being champions, two weeks ago.”

How Can You Not Be Motivated To Win A Trophy?

Isn’t that called being a footballer, John? The mind really does boggle at times. He then followed up with this;

“I have got nothing but compliments for my team as to how they have performed this season. Tonight, I kind of expected the performance from us; it was difficult to find the motivation after what we achieved in the last couple of weeks. But my boys gave their best. We came back twice. We had a few chances (which) we maybe should have done better with,”

It was difficult to find the motivation – I don’t get that at all. That comes from the manager, it’s your job to motivate the players and if you can’t do that with the possibility of winning another trophy then perhaps, you’re in the wrong job? That’s incredibly harsh considering what Gregory has achieved this year, but let’s not bullshit each other and pretend Gregory didn’t just want to go home. He closed with this.

“We respect the tournament and the two leagues playing together. But, at the end of a tiring season, it’s sometimes difficult to motivate yourself again. The teams who hadn’t been in the playoffs or the finale, have obviously had more time (off) and have been waiting for their matches. Let’s wait for their matches, I’m sure you’ll get better ones than the one tonight (laughs),”

Not even going to say anything about that, I can feel my blood pressure on the rise. In the other dugout, Santosh Kashyap was more than happy with his side’s effort and rightly so:

“I’m proud of the team as they have given extraordinary efforts. I had told them to beat the best team, you have to put extra effort which we did. We move on from here.

I feel that Dodoz had four to five sitters, which he could have scored and finished the match. Chennaiyin played well but we handled the pressure even after conceding the goals. It was an excellent tie-breaker,”

Not too sure what he’s on about when he refers to a tie-breaker unless it should just say tie. Apologies, I’m not in India and at these press conferences, all in good time though, all in good time.

This is the first of three match reports that are coming your way today, make sure you’ve got your reading glasses on.

Until the next time.

About the Author

Jake Flock
Football and writing are my two biggest passions, so seems right to combine the pair, don't you think?