Four things Chennaiyin learned in 3-4 loss to NorthEast United

Thursday’s Indian Super League matchup between Chennaiyin and NorthEast United quickly became a classic, as the Highladners roared back to clinch a 4-3 comeback victory. But the game was also a major learning experience for Blues, as the club suffered to its third straight defeat in the season.

 

Also Read:  Ogbeche scores his first ISL hat-trick as Highlanders nick 4-3 thriller

 

Thoi Singh has officially arrived

If one thing stood out positively for Chennaiyin on Thursday, it was the poise and finishing skills of Thoi Singh. He picked up his first goal before the first 15 minutes of the game had passed, hesitating for a second outside the box before finishing a wonderful pass from Issac that curled just inside the left corner of the goal.

Thoi Singh followed up with a second goal in the 32 minute, collecting a pass from Raphael Augusto in the box and then turning around in circles to send the NorthEast goalkeeper Pawan Kumar to the ground.

The brace marked Thoi Singh’s first and second goals with the club, and the performance reflected the way in which the pint-sized Manipuri has stepped up to the helm of his team as it faces bigger and better challenges. Thoi Singh’s ability to assert himself on and off the ball will continue to help guide this young team.

Raphael Augusto needs Gregory Nelson

With Gregory Nelson on the bench, the majority of the playmaking responsibility fell to Raphael Augusto and while the Brazilian floursihed, it meant a large part of Chennaiyin’s play came down the right. The right flank was being manned by Franciso Fernandes, who was having a torrid time of it, while Issac Vanmalsawma was almost anonymous on the left flank.

Chennaiyin’s needed Gregory Nelson’s creativity on the wing to really stretch the Highlander’s backline and create more opportunities.

The back line must clean some things up

As fun as it was to watch the Chennaiyin’s offense finally wake up, the club’s defending wasn’t solid in the last two games.

Right back Franciso Fernandes in particular had a rough match. The first goal the Machans gave up came after a poor clearance from him, which led to Ogbeche opening the comeback floodgate.

Collective defending is one thing, but Chennaiyin’s back four has a bit of work to do heading into the club’s next match on October 23 against Delhi Dynamos.

Not the end of the world

Winning a title is one thing and defending is another and Eelco Schattorie’s men were the biggest threat to the Blues with their pace and high pressing, so this result is not a complete surprise.

The first and second halves looked like two different Chennaiyin teams, and coach John Gregory will need to dissect that as he turns his attention to the next game on the road against Delhi Dynamos. But if the Blues can continue to turn out performances like the first 20 minutes, it will quickly become a force to be reckoned with — speedy, aggressive and cunning on the finishing end.

At the end of the day, all that stood between Chennaiyin and a draw was a few inches of grass. Jeje missed a chance in the dying minute that smacked into the left upright and ricocheted away, leaving the score tied that could have left the team with a slightly more satisfying result. The pieces were there. It’s just a matter of assembly.

The important thing for John Gregory is to not let a slip in form creep in. Like we saw in the aftermath of the 2015 result, Chennaiyin must look to put this behind them as quickly as possible and luckily for them some very winnable games sit on the horizon.


 

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Source: Matchday Frolics
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