Chennaiyin FC have a mountain to climb when they play the return leg of the Hero Indian Super League semi-final in Chennai on December 16 after being humbled 3-0 by Kerala Blasters FC in the first leg in Kochi on Saturday night. Player-head coach Marco Materazzi knows the enormity of the task on hand but he put up a brave face at the post-match press conference and declared he was not yet willing to throw in the towel.
Asked if it was now mission impossible in the second leg, the Italian gaffer replied, “Nothing is impossible in football, but it will be important not to concede in Chennai. The first half will be very important and we will have to take our chances.”
Materazzi stressed that there is need for self-belief if his squad are to reverse the verdict in the next game. “It is a very good result for Kerala and we have a lot to do in the second leg, especially because the third goal in the end makes it even more difficult for us. But it is important to believe in ourselves and try to fight back on Tuesday,” the 2006 World Cup winner said.
“I think we had some chances in the first 20 minutes at 0-0. Then Kerala Blasters started playing well,” the former Inter Milan legend stated when asked why his team were routed today. “They effectively scored three goals in five minutes although the first was offside, but conceding so many in a short span is not normal.” “I think Kerala deserved to win today but I don’t know about the scoreline,” he added.
Earlier, speaking after the match, Chennaiyin striker Jeje Lalpekhlua expressed confidence about getting the better of Kerala on their home turf. “Of course, it’s football, so anything can happen. We have a strong squad and we can beat Kerala in the next match,” he said.