Anirudh Thapa, Jeje Lalpekhlua the chief engineers of Chennai's comeback win in Kolkata
Written by: Sourav Neogi
The midfielder and striker were instrumental in the success that saw the Marina Machans return to the top of the table.
As much as last night’s Indian Super League fixture proved to be an exciting showdown, it also proved to be disappointing for the hosts. ATK, the defending champions who were unbeaten at home despite their disappointing run in the season were defeated by high-flying Chennaiyin FC with a brilliant comeback. Although, the game was influenced by the overseas players to a big margin, some of the domestic players also stood out from the rest. Let’s take a look at how the Indian players did in the game.
Watch: ATK 1-2 Chennaiyin FC recap
Debjit Majumder- 6.5
The only reason ATK were able to keep Chennaiyin at bay for so long. Majumder started the match brightly and displayed a red-hot performance under the hosts’ bars. The 29-year-old goalkeeper faced five shots in his time on the field, of which he saved three. Effective on aerial threats, Majumder nullified Chennaiyin’s three aerial attacks, which could have been devastating for the defending champions. Although, the ball-playing goalkeeper was intercepted many times making passes, which helped the visitors to create sudden attacks throughout the game.
Prabir Das- 5.5
One of the modern full-backs in India, it was an average display from the resourceful defender. Although. making forward runs and creating chances for the raging forwards has been Das’ forte in his career, his role was limited by Ashley Westwood against the Chennai franchise. This resulted in Das creating not a single chance in the entire game.
However, he helped his side to pass the ball around in the middle of the park brilliantly and also to defend against opposition counter-attacks. The former Mohun Bagan player made five key tackles and also made two clearances, but unfortunately, could not stop the visitors barging in the second half.
Keegan Pereira- 6.0
Arguably, ATK’s best defender in the game. Pereira started as the right full-back in the game against Chennaiyin. A powerhouse in the wide areas, he was instrumental in keeping the visitors at bay in the first half as ATK bagged the first goal of the game. A set-piece expert, he also took four free-kicks, made two tackles and clearances each. His presence on the right made life harder for Francisco Fernandes, who was later substituted by Thoi Singh in the second half.
Shankar Sampingraj- 5.0
One of the weakest links in the ATK midfield. Sampingraj was handed a start by coach Ashely Westwood but could not deliver as was expected. The holding midfielder was tasked with breaking up play and supplying the ball to the forwards, both of which he failed to do. His rash challenges on the opposition players did not go unnoticed as he was awarded a yellow card by the referee in the 39th minute. He was later substituted off early in the second half, making way for Ashutosh Mehta.
Rupert Nongrum- 6.5
ATK’s best player in the midfield. The former Shillong Lajong man displayed an unique gameplay against Chennaiyin as he linked up with Mark Paterson and Jayesh Rane well in the game. Nongrum registered a staggering 79% passing accuracy while making three important tackles. The 21-year-old midfielder did an exceptional job in the first half, however, lost his rhythm in the second which helped Chennaiyin to capitalize immediately.
Jayesh Rane- 6.5
One of the star players at ATK’s disposal this season. Although the former Aizawl FC forward started the season a little on the downside, he caught up well with the squad. In the absence of Bipin Singh, Rane kept on being a threat on the right wing. The forward registered a 100% shooting accuracy as well as a 68% pass completion rate as he created two chances against Chennaiyin last night. He also contributed to the defensive duties as he made three tackles, a clearance and three important blocks against the visitors.
Ashutosh Mehta- 4.5
Replaced Shankar Sampingraj on the pitch in the 62nd minute. Like his predecessor, Mehta could not help his side regain lost possession and was marked tightly. Space became a problem for him and the defender could not add any quality to the ATK gameplay.
Hitesh Sharma- 5.0
Although, an upgrade over Zequinha in the second half, Sharma was a bit off-colour against Chennaiyin last night. The young midfielder lost possession often, making way for incoming counter-attacks. In the 37 minutes he was on the pitch, Sharma made only eight passes and was marked tightly throughout.
Karanjit Singh- 6.0
It is safe to say that the Chennaiyin custodian has seen better days at work. Singh was sloppy at times against the defending champions but was saved by the brilliance of the defenders in front of him. The Hoshiarpur-born goalkeeper faced only one shot on goal and conceded from it. Although, the shot-stopper distributed the ball comparatively well, helping his side to build attacks from the heart of the defence and trounce the hosts.
Jerry Lalrinzuala- 6.5
The left-back started the game well, making occasional forward runs and contending with Jayesh Rane at times. However, as the second half started signs of fatigue were visible upon him as he could not keep up with the pace of the game and started to make some silly errors in judgement. This led him to a yellow card in the 89th minute. He registered 73% passing accuracy in the game, making three tackles and clearances in the process.
Dhanpal Ganesh- 6.5
Like many of his teammates, Ganesh had an off day at work. The defensive-minded midfielder has been making all the right noises since the season started, but, could not cope up with the ATK attacks well last night. He registered a 67% pass completion rate and made four tackles with two clearances.
Anirudh Thapa- 8.0
Hero of the Match: Anirudh Thapa
An absolute show-stealer last night. Thapa was seen roaming all over the pitch against the defending champions. The young midfielder registered a 72% pass completion rate, creating four chances in the process. A creative midfielder, Thapa assisted Mailson Alves in the second half for the equalizer, which proved to be the turning point of the match for his side. His efforts were appreciated at the end of the game when he was awarded the Hero of the Match award by the officials.
Francisco Fernandes- 7.5
A force to reckon with in the Chennaiyin midfield, Fernandes was one of the few players who kept the visitors going despite being a goal down. His vision helped him registering a 70% pass completion rate and he created a chance for his side. Although, he could not get into the assists’ chart, he kept the forwards well fed in his time on the pitch which led to two goals in the second half. He also made two pinpoint crosses, threatening the ATK defence. However, he was replaced by Thoi Singh in the 70th minute.
Jeje Lalpekhlua- 7.5
Scored the winner in the game against the defending champions. Although, the former Mohun Bagan forward picked up the pace quickly and kept being a thorn in the side of the ATK defence thereafter. The Mizo striker had 75% passing accuracy and helped to build attacks from scratch. A striker with poaching instincts, Lalpekhlua shot twice on goal. However, he also committed five fouls and was booked later.
Thoi Singh- 6.5
Replaced Francisco Fernandes in the 70th minute of the game. Could not make much impact on the clash.
Published: Fri Jan 26, 2018 01:40 PM IST