ISL 2016: Chennaiyin FC's solid defence big reason behind first ever triumph over NorthEast United
What would be more heartening for the Chennaiyin camp is that David Succi is the fifth different goalscorer for the defending champions who have netted six times so far.
With over 32,000 in attendance, Chennaiyin FC broke their voodoo by beating NorthEast United FC for the first time ever in the Indian Super League, that too in their own backyard at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati. With this 1-0 win over the table-toppers, Chennaiyin now jump to the third place in the league. Here are five takeaways from the match:
Five different goalscorers for Chennaiyin
David Succi got onto the score sheet with a sweetly timed volley to win the match for Chennaiyin. It was a deserved goal for the hard-working Italian who has shone as the lone striker for the second match in a row.
What would be more heartening for the Chennaiyin camp is that he is the fifth different goalscorer for the defending champions who have netted six times so far. It looks like losing John Stiven Mendoza this season hasn't hurt them much.
Squad rotation worked well
The big news from the starting lineups was that Chennaiyin dropped their marquee signing John Arne Riise to the bench for Bernard Mendy. Siam Hanghal replacing Manuele Blasi and Maurizio Peluso coming in for Jayesh Rane were the other two changes. All three justified their starts with solid performances backing manager Marco Materazzi's decision. The gaffer should also be applauded for changing a winning combination successfully, taking three points at the end of the day.
Replacing Riise for Mendy made a lot of sense, considering that Chennaiyin have three matches to be played in the space of 10 days, with both players on the wrong side of 35. Mendy put in a solid show, with a deep backline, standing immense. His last ditch tackle to deny Emiliano Alfaro, in the 66th minute, was crucial to preserve the slender lead. His marshalling of the defence for the innumerable set-pieces was much needed once NorthEast United laid siege on the Chennaiyin goal.
Jerry Lalrinzuala was another shining light in the defence. His perfect interception of Katsumi Yusa's low cross across the goal, on the 62nd minute, pretty much saved Chennaiyin the clean sheet. A word of caution though for the enterprising youngster. He is quick to commit into tackles, only to leave gaps behind. His lack of communication with Mendy could have proved costly five minutes later as Romaric (Koffi Christian N'dri) headed straight to goalkeeper Karanjit Singh. Otherwise, his forays forward showcased his true enthusiasm and skills.
Karanjit Singh, with a second clean sheet in two matches has grabbed his chances with both hands. He made his presence felt dealing with a plethora of crosses with assurance. His diving save to thwart Sumeet Passi's header spoke volumes of his tenacity and concentration. NorthEast United, backed by their vociferous supporters, were literally camped in the opposition half after going down. Karanjit fended off wave after wave of the NorthEast attacks to maintain a one-goal lead and so, this was one clean sheet that will be most cherished by the lanky goalkeeper.
Silent but sure Siam Hanghal
Chennaiyin have played four matches this season and we have seen only a single substitute appearance from last season's ever present Harmanjyot Singh Khabra. Hanghal, who made 12 appearances for NorthEast United last season, has clearly won the manager's nod, making his first start after three substitute appearances for Chennaiyin. The match against his former club just showed why.
With 51 passes made, Hanghal was easily the most assured man on the ball for the defending champions. His pinpoint ball to find Succi for the goal may look speculative, but this youngster surely deserved the 'Emerging Player' award. He kept the ball moving in the midfield and his silent work afforded Raphael Augusto and Hans Mulder a lot more freedom. His inclusion for Manuele Blasi also meant it provided the manager a chance to start Peluso who impressed in the pre-season.
Set-piece expert on the wings
Peluso had two long range shots on target, both from set-pieces, that kept the opponent goalkeeper Subrata Paul on his toes. The sting in his shots and technique is a marked change from that of the classical Elano Blumer for Chennaiyin. So far, with only Riise stepping up to take freekicks, Chennaiyin fans were longing for the days of Elano. We could soon see more of Peluso in action in the coming days of ISL this season.
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