The squad returned home in the wee hours of Thursday morning after a preparatory tour in the Southeast Asian tourist hotspot.

The Super Machans proved on Thursday why they’re deemed one of the most passionate bunch of football fans in the country. Close to 50 fans welcomed Chennaiyin at Chennai International Airport as the Marina Machans returned to India for their final phase of pre-season preparations.

The fans who had gathered three hours before the players’ arrival welcomed the team with garlands and chanted their lungs out as the players made their way to the team bus. One could see Chennaiyin scarves, flags and shirts and banners welcoming last season’s stand-out player Raphael Augusto and gaffer John Gregory ─  who had received a similar welcome during his first visit at an equally odd hour in July.

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Despite their four-hour flight journey from Thailand, the players took the time out to pose for selfies as they looked noticeably excited to see the fans at the airport. Speaking of the reception exclusively to Khel Now, India international striker Jeje Lalpekhlua said, “It’s been amazing. It’s late night, and the fans have come out in great numbers. I want to thanks all the fans, who’ve come here to the airport to receive us here today. I hope to see them all again at Marina Arena soon.”

Inigo Calderon also looked impressed as he looked more than delighted to take pictures with the zealous fans. “We’re very happy,” stated the Brighton legend. “We received overwhelming reception the first time we arrived [in late September], and it’s impressive how the fans’ enthusiasm is still the same at this time of the night.”

Chennaiyin return to Chennai on the back of a 23-day camp in Thailand that saw them lock horns with local clubs Air Force Central, Thai Port and Bangkok United in friendly games. They won a solitary game, as they lost the other two, against the former two. The Blues, however, will look to take only the positives from the trip, as they look to hit the ground running ahead of their first Indian Super League fixture against Goa on November 19.