The southerners have themselves experienced a mixed run of form and will face a stern test against the Men of Steel.
Chennaiyin FC know they cannot leave anything to chance and will battle for full points in their last three league matches, starting with the crucial clash against Jamshedpur FC, at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai, on Sunday.
Chennaiyin FC’s solitary goal victory over FC Goa in the previous clash gave them a massive boost in the race for a playoff spot. They now have 27 points from 15 matches with second-placed FC Pune City (29 points) playing an additional match. A win will almost assure them a place in the semi-finals of Hero Indian Super League and the hosts are keen to ensure there are no slip-ups at this stage.
“We find ourselves in a much better situation (after the win over FC Goa) and it’s in our hands. It’s the same for Jamshedpur FC. There are games where we can decide whether or not we will go into the playoffs. We need to win the remaining matches. It’s in our hands. I have got three matches left and I want my boys to win all three,” said Chennaiyin FC coach John Gregory.
The Chennaiyin FC coach said the dressing room is “happy” and that they enjoyed their journey home from Goa after collecting three points. The Jamshedpur clash will test their resolve again.
“If you look at the last five matches, Jamshedpur are probably playing better than any other team. Their performance during this period has been incredible,” said Gregory.
After being winless in the first three matches, Jamshedpur FC have stunned everyone by winning five of their last six matches. They are now placed fourth with 25 points and will qualify if they can win their remaining three matches against Chennaiyin FC, Bengaluru FC and FC Goa.
“We have three very difficult games. Chennaiyin are on the back of a win at Goa. Then we play Bengaluru next week and finish with Goa. So three very very difficult matches but if after three games of the season, you would say we would be in this position, I would have taken it,” said Jamshedpur FC coach Steve Coppell.
Jamshedpur lost the first leg at home but Coppell said his side is motivated by more than just revenge.
“Revenge is definitely not a factor; it’s another game in our schedule. At this stage, there is more significance to the results. Whatever happens tomorrow, our season doesn’t end. We have to play all three games. The result is significant for either side. It will be a huge fillip for either teams to get three points,” said Coppell.
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Head to head
Chennaiyin FC 1-0 Jamshedpur FC
Inigo Calderon (Chennaiyin FC)
Chennaiyin’s right back has been one of the most versatile players for his team. Solid at the back and clinical up front, Calderon maintains a balance between attack and defence to good effect. The Spaniard is strong, hardly allowing attackers to pass him, and is also quick on the attack while surging forward. He has three goals to his credit this season and will be looking to come up with a usual all-round show against Jamshedpur.
Memo (Jamshedpur FC)
The Brazilian has been the midfield engine for his team. He has held his own in front of his team’s defensive lines, initiating countless attacks and counter-attacks. A tireless player, he tracks back time and again to perform his defensive duties while also attacking the penalty box and testing the opposition keepers. He will play a major role in his team’s midfield when Chennaiyin come calling.
John Gregory may go forward with a 4-2-3-1 formation, which has yielded rich dividends for his team in the past.
Goalkeeper: Karanjit Singh
Defenders: Inigo Calderon, Mailson Alves, Henrique Sereno, Jerry Lalrinzuala
Midfielders: Dhanpal Ganesh, Anirudh Thapa, Thoi Singh, Rene Mihelic, Gregory Nelson
Forward: Jeje Lalpekhlua
Chennaiyin head coach on the team’s mentality before the encounter: “It’s a very happy camp and a very happy dressing room. They enjoyed the journey back from Goa and the team is in fantastic spirits. They are training every day and we try different things to change the monotony in the training ground. All the kind of things that gives us freshness.”
Steve Coppell may use a 4-2-3-1 formation that provides enough options in the middle and the flanks.
Goalkeeper: Subrata Paul
Defenders: Souvik Chakrabarti, Anas Edathodika, Tiri, Andre Bikey
Midfielders: Mehtab Hossain, Memo, Wellington Priori, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Trindade Goncalves
Forward: Ashim Biswas
Jamshedpur head coach on his team’s approach: “We work very hard on our defending, but it’s not our priority. If you look at our training sessions, we spend as much time attacking as we do defending. We want to attack teams as much as possible. Our main strategy is to be as deceptive as possible, where we can change and try and incorporate any strategy.”
- Both teams have the same number of losses (4) which is the least in the league
- Jamshedpur have won five of their previous six fixtures
Jamshedpur FC 0 – 1 Chennaiyin FC (28th December 2017 at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur)
Chennaiyin FC: W D L W L
Jamshedpur FC: W W W L W
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