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Jeje Lalpekhlua of Chennaiyin FC hits goal during match 41 of the Hero Indian Super League between Chennaiyin FC and Delhi Dynamos FC held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai India on the 7th January 2018 Photo by: Deepak Malik / ISL / SPORTZPICS

Indian Football

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Chennaiyin 2-2 Delhi Dynamos

Hrishi Anand discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Chennaiyin 2-2 Delhi Dynamos

Chennaiyin FC were left ruing another late goal conceded as they drew with a struggling Delhi side 2-2 at the Marina Arena in Chennai. The home side were largely dominant throughout the game but switched off in the 92nd minute as Delhi scored the equalizer to end a run of 6 consecutive losses. Jeje Lalpekhlua scored a brace for the home side on his 27th birthday. The result was enough to take CFC to the top of the table temporarily.

Jeje- A Reliable Performer but Chennai Poor Defensively Yet Again

Jeje Lalpekhlua has become a committed performer for Chennai. The forward endured a barren start to the campaign but has burst into life in recent weeks. 6 goals mean that Jeje sits 3rd on the goalscorers list and is the leading Indian goalscorer. Jeje celebrated his 27th birthday with two extremely well taken goals. The 27-year-old is a diminutive striker but makes up for his apparent lack of height with an uncanny ability to find space and great attacking positions in the opposition’s box. His first goal of the night was a headed effort as Jeje found space between the Delhi center backs and headed Rene Mihelic’s delivery from a free-kick to equalize for CFC. His second was even better as he received the ball with his back to the goal before dropping a shoulder and firing into the far corner. Jeje’s ability to link-up with teammates and offer a potent goal threat make him indispensable for Chennai. CFC will, however, be disappointed to have conceded yet another equalizer in the dying minutes of the game. A similar story as the game against Kerala as the home side switched off defensively while defending a free-kick. A poorly executed attempt at an offside trap left Guyon Fernandez with a simple tap-in as the ball was headed across goal. The number of goals Chennai have conceded after the 80th minute is worrying to say the least and is costing John Gregory’s side points on every occasion. Chennai must improve defensively to consolidate their position at the top.

Delhi Fight Hard To Snatch A Point

Delhi are on a wretched run of form at the moment. 1 win in 8 games played have left the side from the capital firmly rooted to the bottom of the table. A point away to the league leaders will do Miguel Angel Portugal’s side a great deal of confidence but Delhi were far from solid or convincing in the game. The visitors were on the back-foot for most of the 90 minutes and failed to create many chances either. To their credit, Delhi did put away two of the opportunities created. The Dynamos seem to be playing without a solid game-plan at the moment. Other ISL sides have already adopted a specific style of play but Delhi seem to be tentatively revolving around a possession-based game and a counter-attacking game. Delhi possess a very young and energetic group of players and bravely have not opted to sign marquee players in the range of Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov. While this is an admirable move, the inexperience around the side shows as they are unable to keep clean sheets or grind out points. It seems unlikely, barring an extraordinary revival, that Delhi will qualify for the play-offs but it’s far from the end of the world for the side from the capital as their policy of breeding young Indian players is bound to reap rewards sooner rather than later.

Star Performers

Karanjit Singh- While Jeje may have scored both goals for CFC, goalkeeper Karanjit Singh was vital in ensuring that a shaky Chennai defense wasn’t punished on more occasions. The experienced custodian commanded his box well and offered a vocal presence in the absence of the suspended captain Henrique Sereno. A couple of good saves ensured another solid performance from Karanjit who has gone under the radar despite his good goalkeeping.

Nandhakumar- Nandhakumar surely must have had an emotional experience as he returned home albeit in Delhi colors. The exciting winger is on loan from I-League side Chennai City FC and showed what made him such a dangerous attacker in last year’s I-League campaign. His quality crossing into the box and ability to take-on opposition players meant that he was an important outlet for Delhi and was praised by his coach after the game. Nandha remains a player to watch.

(Featured image via ISL)

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Hrishi Anand

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