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Unbeaten Chennaiyin eye top spot with ailing East Bengal up next

Two wins out of two, and Indian players like Anirudh Thapa and Lallianzuala Chhangte playing starring roles would delight head coach Bozidar Bandovic as they go up against East Bengal on Friday.

Published: 02nd December 2021 09:28 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd December 2021 09:28 PM   |  A+A-

Chennaiyin FC players train ahead of their match against East Bengal FC

Chennaiyin FC players train ahead of their match against East Bengal FC ( Photo | Chennaiyin Media)

Express News Service

KOCHI: Sooner or later, Chennaiyin FC could miss a player as talented as Rafael Crivellaro but the Marina Machans are coping with the Brazilians absence admirably at the moment.

Two wins out of two, and Indian players like Anirudh Thapa and Lallianzuala Chhangte playing starring roles would delight head coach Bozidar Bandovic as they go up against East Bengal on Friday. In the long run, Chennaiyin would need a player like Crivellaro's footballing gifts to unlock defences and sustain their play-off challenge, but the players at hand are getting the job done in the short run.

However, Bandovic might be posed with a tactical challenge against the Red and Gold brigade. And there might be a change in approach required against a wounded East Bengal where Chennaiyin would be expected to take the initiative. Having been thrashed by bitter rivals ATK Mohun Bagan and leaking six goals against Odisha FC in their last game, Manolo Diaz is unlikely to take another gung-ho approach going up against Chennaiyin.

This would mean that Bandovic's men are likely to enjoy more of the possession and would be expected to break the opposition down. This is where a player of Crivellaro's caliber could be missed. Against Hyderabad, the Montenegrin coach set his team up to hit on the counter and it worked effectively.

The approach was largely similar against NorthEast who tested the Chennaiyin defence a lot. Against East Bengal, Thapa and Co will have to take the initiative and force the issue.

"We have a chance to make it three wins out of three but we have to show respect to every opponent. It doesn't matter if the opponent has conceded ten goals. We have to be prepared and ready for the game," he said.

The 52-year-old coach has come across as a meticulous tactician. Whether it is analysing his team's mistakes, studying the opponents, using numbers to dissect his team's performances or whether it is just to take a game by game approach. And he understands that his team needs to start creating chances and goals in order to dominate opponents and games.

"The fact that we have started scoring goals is a big positive. That's an indication that the attacking line-up has started clicking together," said Bandovic.

And once Crivellaro returns, Chennaiyin would be firing on all cylinders, but Bandovic is an astute coach who wants to take it one step at a time and focus on the job at hand. A win against East Bengal at the Tilak Maidan will see Chennaiyin go top of the table and that's something Bandovic or Chennaiyin wouldn't want to miss out on. 



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