ISL 2017-18: Chennaiyin FC hope to maintain winning run as lowly ATK eye first win of tournament

Chennai: Having staged a strong fightback after starting on the wrong note, former champions Chennaiyin FC will look to continue in the same vein when they take on holders ATK in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Thursday.

Henrique Sereno of Chennaiyin FC celebrates with his teammates after scoring against FC Pune City. ISL

Henrique Sereno of Chennaiyin FC celebrates with his teammates after scoring against FC Pune City. ISL

The home side will hope to carry the momentum, following victories over NorthEast United FC (at home) and FC Pune City (away), into the game at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

They are aware of the task at hand against the two-time winners.

Chennaiyin coach John Gregory has used the same winning combination for the last two matches but may be forced into making a couple of changes to tackle the visitors.

For CFC, Raphael Augusto, skipper Henrique Sereno and Jeje Lalpekhua hold the key upfront and the coach would look up to them to score.

"People say never change a winning team but sometimes you have to make adjustments to improve in certain areas. For two and a half games, we have not conceded a goal. We have scored three times in the last 10 minutes which shows that my boys will keep going till the final whistle," Gregory said on the eve of the high-octane clash.

The Kolkata team has had a poor start to the season, having lost one game and drawn the other two. ATK coach Teddy Sheringham is not too worked up about it and said the team has players who can score goals.

"This has not been the best starts. It's not good for the reigning champions. There have been a few setbacks along the way but I believe we are not far away. We are trying to do something. We must do better and we remain positive," said Sheringham at the pre-match press conference.

His belief stems from the fact that ATK did well in both their drawn away matches against Kerala Blasters and Jamshedpur FC.

"If it's boxing, we could have won both games on points," he said.

He said it was early days in the league, adding that he was happy with the squad.

"Early days... We had two good away games. I am very very happy with my squad. Very happy with the way things are transforming. We need to be converting our possession and chances into goals. We have plenty of players in the squad that can score goals," Sheringham said.

There have been concerns over the injury to Eugeneson Lyngdoh, and the coach said, "He has a bad knee. But we are hoping to see some specialists for second opinion to know exactly what the matter is."

He said there had been "some horrendous challenges that have gone unpunished" and added that "if they keep going to be unpunished, you are going to get more injuries".

He also said it was important that the team wins away games when victories don't come along in home matches.

"We need to win away games and that is going to be a challenge for us," he added.

Sheringham said he was aware of Chennaiyin FC's strengths and weaknesses and was ready for their challenge.

There are expectations that ATK's star striker Robbie Keane may make his first appearance but the coach wasn't very forthcoming on the issue.

Chennaiyin have won only one game against ATK in the eight matches they have played so far, losing three and drawing four and would be looking to reverse the trend tomorrow.

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Updated Date: Dec 07, 2017 14:37 PM

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