Chennaiyin FC are placed in the ninth position with a mere four points to show for their efforts. Against Jamshedpur FC on Sunday, they were second best for most parts of the game.
Not only did they lose the individual battles, collectively they were not effective and hardly posed a threat to the opposition.
Michael Soosairaj was a menace down the left as he troubled the experienced Inigo Calderon. Sumeet Passi ran his heart out and constantly harried the opposing defenders in order to win the ball back.
Although John Gregory’s side saw more of the ball, they never got behind the Jamshedpur defence. Raphael Augusto was guilty of holding onto the ball for far too long, Gregory Nelson tried to do it all by himself while Jeje Lalpekhlua’s torrid ISL season continued.
Anirudh Thapa and Germanpreet Singh were busy with their side-to-side passing with no incisiveness. While Jerry Lalrinzuala looks a completely different player than what was seen in the earlier two seasons. He has struggled to provide quality crosses when forward and defensively has committed several mistakes.
Gregory has tried to change the personnel in earlier games by utilizing Andrea Orlandi and Carlos Salom however, that ploy too hasn’t worked. The Englishman probably has to give the fringe players such as Srinivasan Pandian, Zohmingliana Ralte and others an opportunity given that his first-team regulars are out of form.
Why continue persisting with players who look out of depth and ideas?
Jamshedpur had it easy as two of their three goals Chennaiyin conceded were mere gifts. Pablo Morgado’s strike was out of the world, the subsequent penalty and Mario Arques’ third goal could have been avoided.
In the end, it was a fitting result for the home team with Chennaiyin FC looking nothing like the resilient outfit that won the title last year.
Much of that had to do with the players underperforming and an inability to adjust to setbacks. Yes, Dhanpal Ganesh’s long-term injury disrupted their midfield balance but his injury was known before the season started. Why didn’t the club have a backup plan?
Karanjit Singh who had a purple patch last season has had a torrid campaign so far. He was partly responsible for two of the goals Jamshedpur FC scored last night apart from errors in the previous games as well.
Mailson Alves has looked out of his depth in the absence of Henrique Sereno from last season while Inigo Calderon and Gregory Nelson have all been underwhelming.
A collective failure to perform has cost the defending champions for whom time is running out rapidly if they want to salvage something from the season.