Free Press Journal

Chennaiyin, Blasters in crunch ISl tie 


Chennai: Chennaiyin FC and Kerala Blasters look to outwit each other in a crucial 11th round Indian Super League (ISL) clash. Last year, Blasters overcame a strong challenge of the home team to enter the final of the competition.

But the two teams are pegged at the reverse end of the standings this year with Chennaiyin at the bottom with 10 points from 10 matches and Blasters pocketing 11 points to be placed just a rung above them at seventh.

“There is not much to think about. We have to take one game at a time and hope that we win this one. After that, we will think about the next game,” said Chennaiyin FC coach Marco Materazzi.

Chennaiyin FC have lost three matches in a row and now must win their remaining four matches to have a mathematical chance of qualifying for the semi-finals.

Their remaining matches include Delhi Dynamos (November 24), Mumbai City FC (December 1) and FC Pune City (December 5), with the last game played away.

Materazzi denied a popular perception that Chennaiyin FC are too predictable with Stiven Mendoza as striker, Elano Blumer as the attacking midfielder and Raphael Augusto in midfield.

“I wouldn’t say we are predictable because when Jayesh was playing and we played against Goa, we scored four goals against a team who later scored seven (against Mumbai). I would like my players in optimal physical condition all the time but that’s not possible. The choice of Raphael is simple. He is an amazing player. He is a top player and that’s why I pick him,” said Materazzi.

Blasters defeated NorthEast United 4-1 but will still need plenty of more points to make it to the last-four stage. “I think every game (from now on) is cagey. We are going into this game with plenty of confidence. There will be a few nerves but if we can get our players to get going, it will be exciting. Hopefully we will get a positive result,” said coach Terry Phelan.

“There is plenty of confidence in the team. We have just come off a great result against NorthEast. You’ve got to play with confidence. Obviously it’s very tight at the moment. It’s a must-win game for both teams. I am sure we can get a result. It will be nerve-racking at the start,” said Phelan.