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No Rafa, no party? Profligate Chennaiyin drop crucial points


There was no winner to be chosen between NorthEast United and Chennaiyin…

After getting off to a winning start in the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL), Chennaiyin have since struggled to pick up points. 

They are now without a win in four matches and the team hasn’t clicked in the final third. In their last four games, Csaba Laszlo’s team has only scored one goal despite creating chances. 

Sunday’s game against NorthEast United was a good fixture to turn things around, especially because NorthEast had let in first-half goals in three of their previous five fixtures. But things didn’t go according to plan. 

The game had six shots on target overall and four were from Chennaiyin. While that usually indicates that the contest was somewhat entertaining, don’t let the numbers fool you. It was a boring and scrappy affair that neither team wanted to lose. 

The ball was largely stuck in the midfield where Khassa Camara and Lalengmawia played around with their feet and Deepak Tangri and Germanpreet Singh ran around the pitch trying to stop them from spraying those passes around. The end result wasn’t a sight to behold. 

While NorthEast continued to be solid and organized at the back, Chennaiyin did create chances to score. However, the Machans were incredibly wasteful in front of goal, which meant the game continued to be goalless till the full-time whistle was blown. 

Lallianzuala Chhangte, famous for his speed and quick feet from the flanks and infamous for his poor finishing, exhibited both sides of his game. He had arguably the best chance of the game in the second half when Gurmeet Singh parried Jakub Sylvester’s effort straight into his path inside the box. Facing an empty net, the former Delhi Dynamos winger sent the ball into the stands, proving the point about a lack of composure once he gets into dangerous areas. 

Chennaiyin missed the presence of Rafa Crivellaro, who was rested for the game, and Anirudh Thapa, who wasn’t fit to start and ended up playing the last 15 minutes. Those two players would have ensured a quicker start for Chennaiyin and a better foundation in the final third. Even though the team didn’t struggle to create chances, there was a distinct lack of quality in the final third that needs to be addressed. 

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