KOCHI: In their opening game of the campaign, Chennaiyin FC was put under relentless pressure by Hyderabad FC with wave after wave of attacks. What was remarkable though was that the former champions not only won the game, they sealed it with a clean sheet by weathering the storm.
The fact that Hyderabad went on to dominate and win against a star-studded Mumbai City in their next game was proof that what Chennaiyin achieved was no mean feat. After their morale-boosting victory, they take on NorthEast United at the PJN Stadium in Fatorda on Monday. While the win over Manuel Roca’s men was impressive, it didn’t mask the fact that the former champions need to improve in various departments and their head coach Bozidar Bandovic addressed this ahead of the match.
The 52-year-old also showed his astute side by putting numbers on the table on where his team needs to work. “We need to improve in the attacking, the moment we win the ball. We made 57 interceptions, at that moment we need to keep the ball and organise the attack and make the counter-attacks. So, we need to be stronger in the duels, because the percentage of our duels are very low, if we consider our friendly games, and also winning the second ball,” he said during the pre-match interaction.
In what comes as a blow for his team, they will be once again without their midfield maestro Rafael Crivellaro, who is expected to be out for at least four weeks due to a groin injury.But Vladimir Koman could take over the creative responsibilities and has already made a vital contribution for Bandovic’s team.
Koman had kept his cool to score from the penalty spot against Hyderabad and he’d be expected a prominent role once again.
“Rafael is an important player, a good player. Now, he is injured and we now need to concentrate on the players that are ready to play,” said Bandovic. In Crivellaro’s absence, others are expected to step up.
“Koman’s role is important, Thapa’s role is important, Ariel (Borysiuk) is important, Edwin (Vanspaul), all the players from the start or even from the bench are important and they know what to do,” the coach said.
Blasters hold BFC
Bambolim: Ashique Kuruniyan turned from a hero to a villain in a matter of four minutes when he found the opposition net but then scored an own goal as Bengaluru FC played out a 1-1 draw against Kerala Blasters in an ISL match on Sunday. Bengaluru now have four points from three games while the Blasters still remain winless.