Recharged Chennaiyin FC ready for Odisha FC challenge

Chennai, November 27, 2019: A recharged Chennaiyin FC side is ready to take on Odisha FC in the Hero Indian Super League here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Thursday. The home team come into this one on a high after a last-gasp 2-1 win over Hyderabad FC two days back. Odisha FC on the other hand drew their last game 0-0 against ATK at the former’s temporary home ground at Pune.

Odisha FC are on a three-match unbeaten run, while CFC will be motivated to get another three points that would see them go above their opponents in the ISL table. A number of CFC players returned to form in the HFC game and will be looking to pick up where they left off against OFC on Thursday. Along with goalscorers Andre Schembri and Nerijus Valskis, Anirudh Thapa put in a man-of-the-match performance. Eli Sabia and Lucian Goian were at their solid best and will be aiming for an encore against a potent offensive outfit which has the likes of Aridane Santana, Jerry Mawihmingthanga and Daniel Lalhlimpuia.

In terms of team news, CFC will be without Jeje Lalpekhlua who continues his recovery from injury while Dhanpal Ganesh also misses out through a knock. 

Head Coach John Gregory mentioned this at the pre-match press conference and was joined by matchwinner Valskis by his side. The gaffer applauded the fans for their undying support and was blown away by the post-match reception. “The fans’ reaction to our win was quite amazing on the night. I hadn’t heard a stadium so noisy since we beat (FC) Goa in the semi-final of Hero ISL 2017-18. The noise that the fans made at the final whistle was quite incredible.”

“Coming back to the hotel after that match, every member of the staff came up to the players and congratulated us on the victory. It was quite an incredible feeling for everybody, and I hope my players understand what it means to so many people connected with our club. I hope they have the desire to do the same against Odisha,” Gregory added.

Chennaiyin haven’t won back-to-back matches since the 2017-18 and Gregory & Co. will desperately be aiming to change that stat.

“Josep, he produces good footballing teams. His team is playing good football. They had an outstanding win when they played in Mumbai couple of weeks back. If we give the ball away to them, we know they’ve got the capability of looking after it. We’ll need to be switched on,” was the warning sounded by Gregory on their upcoming opponents.

Valskis shared his delight and satisfaction on opening his account in his debut campaign, “Everybody saw how I celebrated after the goal. I was very happy for myself and the team. We got three points. We had played two games very well at home and we had not won. Finally, we did win. I am really happy, along with the entire team. Now we need to ensure we keep our focus and carry out our responsibilities to get another vital three points,” the Lithuanian forward commented.