With the win the Marina Machans qualified for the group stages of the AFC Cup.

The AFC Cup qualifying playoff second leg saw Chennaiyin win by a 1-0 margin in a hard-fought match against their Sri Lankan opponents Colombo FC, thanks to the goal scored by Jeje Lalpheklua. 

Talking to the press after the game, the Colombo FC gaffer cited fixture congestion on their way to this game, “Chennaiyin FC players were physically dominant and we had no rest. We have been playing consistently for six months now.”

He also shared his thoughts about the game by saying, “We had our chances, but could not convert them. We made a small mistake and they scored.”  When asked how pleased he was with the spirited display by his team he said, “I’m very proud of my team’s performance. We made it to the playoff round this year and to lose a tie by a small margin against a big club like Chennaiyin is an achievement in itself.”

When asked his opinion on what Chennaiyin need to improve going into the group stages he said, “I think Chennaiyin FC have a lot of players who can shoot, but to progress in Asia, they need more ball-playing players.”


Meanwhile, Chennaiyin head coach John Gregory praised his forwards saying, “Jeje had a lot of support today. We had (CK) Vineeth playing close to him. We were very positive in our game and it was important that Jeje had someone to share the workload with. I think they both complement each other well. Thoi (Singh) and Issac (Vanlalsawma) worked hard.”

When asked about his team missing a couple of sitters Gregory replied, “We had a tough season. Our confidence was very poor because of the season we had. We should have scored three or more goals. I don’t care if it was 1-0 though. We qualified and kept two clean sheets against a good team.”

The Englishman praised the Sri Lankan side as he went on adding, “They are the champions of their country, a champion team who has +20 goal difference in their league. But, we won and qualified for the group stages. The whole of our club has been geared up to represent our city in Asia now.”

He was optimistic about his side going through to the knockout stages of the competition as he said, “We are representing the country as well. I’m an adopted Indian as well and we’ve done well for India by qualifying in the group stage. Now, we have six games to qualify for the next stage.”