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Raghunandhanan Narasimhan discusses three talking points about the I-League game that finished Aizawl FC 1-0 Chennai City FC
Given the state of the club last season, anyone associated with the club would have been content with the club being safe from the relegation battle and achieving a respectable position in the league. The withdrawal of the three Goan clubs ensured that Aizawl could stay in the I-League’s top tier for another season despite finishing last. This season however the fortunes have been completely contrasting with the Mizoram club enjoying a rich vein of form. Their home form has been terrific with six wins and a draw in seven games at home. Their win over East Bengal last weekend made everyone raise their heads and the club duly followed up on that win with an excellent performance against the Chennai based club.
The good thing for the club is that they are not dependent on a single person to get them their victories. Their success has been down to the solid foundation in their central defense consisting of Ralte and Kingsley. The link between attack and defense has been great with the club not finding it difficult in transitions. Head coach Khalid Jamil has been tremendous and must be deservedly credited for the work he has done at the club. At the time of writing, before East Bengal face Bengaluru FC, Aizawl’s win has seen them temporarily move to the table summit. For a club that was rooted to the bottom last season, this is indeed the stuff of fairytales.
The upswing in form after the appointment of current head coach V.Soundrarajan, who was previously managing the Southern Railway football team looked to point north for the club. Four points from his first two games in charge, Chennai looked well set to add on to the points tally and keep the good form going. They were rudely brought back to the ground as Shillong Lajong thrashed them at home last week. Their away form did not improve one bit as they suffered their fifth consecutive loss on road, something that they need to improve on dramatically.
After having sacked the previous coach Robin Charles Raja, Chennai City have appointed am experienced campaigner in Soundrarajan who is the first coach from Tamil Nadu to have completed the Pro License badges. They are a new club and have found the demands of the I-League a bit too much and will surely take their time to adjust themselves to it. A club that focuses on bringing in local talent and integrating them as mainstay players, the club are a refreshing entity in the league and will have to do good to establish themselves as a threat to other teams in the coming matches.
Karanjit Singh was considered a marquee signing for Chennai City FC when he signed for the club at the start of the season. The goalkeeper put in a performance of the highest quality on a day in which he absolutely refused to be beaten. He single handedly kept his side in the match during the first half when Chennai City were camped in their own half with Aizawl’s onslaught too much to handle for their side. The defense however let him down and Brandon scored his third goal of the season to help Aizawl to the win. Karanjit still kept pulling off the saves as the match wore on with no signs of let off from the hosts. It might even be said that the 1-0 score line flattered Chennai City as Aizawl were in complete control of the match. Better defending for the goal might have seen Chennai pull off an improbable draw on the day.
While Karanjit was the star for CCFC, Brandon, Amna and Jayesh Rane were the stars for Aizawl as they were terrific on the pitch. The Aizawl attack was irresistible with excellent link up play and off the ball movement. The Mizoram based side need to keep this up and also replicate some of their home form in away matches if they want to consolidate their title challenging credentials.
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