Woefully out of sorts this season, former champions Chennaiyin FC would look to revive their fortunes when they face bottom-placed Odisha FC in the Indian Super League on Sunday
Things are not looking that pretty for last season’s runners-up Chennaiyin FC with just one win in their last eight games (two out of nine) and captain Rafael Crivellaro ruled out for the season. Csaba Laszlo would be eager to start afresh and for inspiration, they need not look further than their next opponents, who recently broke their own winless rut in the league.
The team needs to recover from what was perhaps their worst display of the season, against Hyderabad and play to the strengths that they displayed in early season, that seemed to have vanished.
Chennaiyin let in four goals against Hyderabad, the same number they conceded in their first four matches. Add that to their misfiring attack that has scored just eight goals – the lowest in the league – and Chennaiyin find themselves in a real conundrum.
“I think the last game’s performance was bad,” said Laszlo.
“I don’t want to run away from this because altogether we made a lot of mistakes. I think after this game, everybody in my team has to go and think about it. From the first minute to the last, we were not really in the picture. We have to change, we have to analyse the mistakes and we have to go back to where we were before,” he added.
Chennaiyin’s foreign players have been underwhelming so far –they have just three goals between them, the lowest by any foreign contingent. Laszlo will hope for more from them against Odisha. Former FC Goa player Manuel Lanzarote is set to replace Crivellaro in the squad.
Stuart Baxter’s team, meanwhile, will be hoping to pick up from their thumping win over Kerala Blasters.
They may still be rooted to the bottom of the table, but a win over Chennaiyin will take them to within two points of their opponents on Sunday. They also seem to have found an unlikely creative force in Jerry Mawihmingthanga, who now leads the ISL charts for assists along with Hugo Boumous.
“It’s important to the degree that we needed to get those three points to give the players the belief and the confidence to continue the roll around,” said Baxter.
“The players did a fantastic job in retaining their confidence and their belief despite the results being against us sometimes quite unluckily. But, we do need that to gain a little bit of momentum and now hopefully, we can kick on,” he added.
ISL table as of January 9
|ATK Mohun Bagan||9||6||2||1||10:3||7||20|
|SC East Bengal||10||2||4||4||10:15||-5||10|