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ISL 2017-18: When the chips are down, Chennaiyin FC invariably respond

11:48 PM EST 3/10/18
Anirudh Thapa FC Goa Chennaiyin FC ISL
The Super Machans have scored 19 out of their 25 goals in the second half…

In sports, just like life, not always things go according to plan. There will be bumps, blips, blocks and days when nothing goes in your favour and suddenly you begin to wonder whether the universe is conspiring against you and your team.

The real challenge is how people or teams respond to this. This is when you learn about your character, whether or not you are capable of handling pressure.

In the current edition of the Indian Super League (ISL), Chennaiyin FC have given a good account of themselves, especially when the going got tough.

In at least 10 of their 19 matches so far, The Marina Machans found themselves trailing. In each of those occasions, they have mounted a comeback, though not successful always. 

In their opening game of the season against FC Goa, it would be fair to state that they were at sixes and sevens when they conceded thrice. However, in the second half, they scored twice and were close to even picking a point from the tie.

They showed similar resilience against ATK away from home. They leaked in a goal before scoring twice in the second half to register a memorable win. In Bangalore, Sunil Chhetri equalized late but Dhanpal Ganesh popped up at the other end to nick one in and hand Chennaiyin all three points.

The same spirit manifested itself at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Saturday evening. Although the hosts saw more of the ball, they didn’t test Karanjit Singh enough and even the shots from which he did have to make a save, weren’t of the threatening nature.

Jeje Lalpekhlua had a glorious opportunity in each half while Francis Fernandes could have done better by anticipating a cross inside the box on at least a couple of occasions. Also, Gregory Nelson should have scored twice. Add Bikramjit Singh’s long-range effort to that. 

You almost felt that probably it wasn’t Chennaiyin FC’s day. It was FC Goa who took the lead after Ferran Corominas’ effort was blocked by Anirudh Thapa and Manuel Lanzarote was around to apply the finishing touch.

Goa were in the ascendancy with the crowd cheering their players on. However, out of nowhere, Raphael Augusto found Nelson who dribbled his way past three Goa players to find Thapa in space. His shot went right through the legs of Chinglensana Singh and Laxmikant Kattimani and Chennai had equalized just seven minutes after they leaked in a goal.

John Gregory mentioned that Goa are a difficult team to play against as almost every player is good on the ball, It was the mental toughness coupled with physical fitness which once again saw them live to fight another day.

Chennaiyin FC have scored 19 of their 25 goals in the ISL after the break and Gregory’s comment summed up their spirit.

“My team has the attitude to keep going until it's over. We have a never-say-die-attitude,” said the Englishman.