Indian Player Ratings: Dhanapal and Bikramjit dominate as Chennaiyin take title in pulsating ISL finale
Written by: Srinivasan
The league debutants were beaten on their home turf by a Chennayin side that were an epitome of resilience.
The heavily fancied Bengaluru side were beaten by a supremely organized Chennayin side as John Gregory's team rallied against the odds to win the ISL in Bengaluru. After a whirlwind start to the game thanks to goals f rom Sunil Chhetri and Mailson, the visitors clawed their way into the lead when Mailson towered above the rest to head home. A comeback in the second half was on, but was made that much harder when Raphael Augusto fired in a third. The game got a late twist when Miku scored just at the start of stoppage time, but Chennaiyin held on for a famous win.
Could not do anything about both of Mailson's well placed headers as his defence were beaten soundly in the air on both occasions. Called into action early in the second half when he dived down quickly to deny Jeje's drive which would have surely put the tie to bed.
Match Highlights -ISL Final Bengaluru FC Vs Chennaiyin FC
Rahul Bheke- 6.0
Defensively solid and provided an outlet on the right flank, but was guilty of fluffing a shot in the second half when there were teammates in better positions.
Lenny Rodrigues- 5.0
His usual composure was put to the test against Bikramjit and Dhanapal who did not give him an inch of breathing room. Dimas' departure shifted the onus on proividing more penetrative passes on him. Could not influence the game in the same manner as the last few games.
Boithang Haokip- 5.5
Was guilty of a couple of wild shots in the first half which would not have impressed Roca given the limited space offered by a supremely organized Chennayin defence. Hauled off for Nishu in the second half as Roca sought a way into the game.
Udanta Singh- 6.0
Udanta put the ball in the back of the net, but was denied by the linesman's flag!
Like on so many occasions, provided the width and the assist for Chhetri's opener within the first 10 minutes. Was unlucky as he saw his goal being flagged off for offside when replayes showed that the call was harsh on the winger. However, faded in the second half as Gregory Nelson and Jerry did a superb job in nullifying his influence in the game.
Sunil Chhetri- 6.5
One just knew that he would make his mark on a stage like this and he did so in style. The Captain put his body on the line to send a diving header past Karanjit within the first 10 minutes of the game and also became the fastest scorer in an ISL final. However the Captain had a hard time against the towering Mailson who had the beating of Chhetri on more than one occasion. Missed a gilt edged chance to pull one back when he had the goal at his mercy but blazed over the bar.
Chhetri scored the fastest goal in ISL finals
Nishu Kumar- 6.0
Brought on for the ineffective Boithang as Roca shifted to a back four in the quest for a goal. Provided an additional attacking outlet on the left flank but was easily marked out by Calderon and Fernandes.
Karanjit Singh- 6.5
Just like his counterpart, he was powerless against Chhetri's diving header for the opener. Remained a spectator in the first half with the exception of an easy take from a Chhetri shot. Saw his goal under siege as the Blues attempted to get back into the game. Showed his positioning sense as he denied a point blank header to deny the home side a second.
Jerry Lalrinzuala- 6.5
Was seen bombing forward in the left flank and combined well with Gregory Nelson. Drifted sometimes into an inside left midfield position to overload the middle.
Chennaiyin FC-New ISL Champions
Bikramjit Singh- 7.0
His combination in the middle of the pitch along with Dhanapal was a masterclass in controlled midfield play. Shut down the creative forces of the home side well and was on hand to put out fires in the middle of the park. Replaced by Anirudh Thapa just after the hour mark.
Dhanpal Ganesh- 7.0
The hero of the league encounter in which the two sides met earlier in the season showed just why he has grown leaps and bounds this season under Gregory. Nullified Dimas and Lenny's influence to a large extent as the Chennayin gaffer had recognised that Lenny starts moves from the base of midfield.
Francis Fernandes- 6.5
Was never short on effort on the right flank as he stuck to his task of stretching the right flank and guarding it on defensive transitions.
Jeje Lalpekhlua- 6.5
Quiet first half, but suddenly burst into life in the second half as it was his hold up play that set up Raphael Augusto for Chennayin's third goal. The Mizo sniper is another who has seen a remarkable improvement under Gregory's reign at the club.
Anirudh Thapa- 6.0
Did a fine job in the middle of the pitch after replacing Bikarmjit. Kept his composure against a Bengaluru side that were in all out attack mode.
Thoi Singh- NA
Not on long enough to get a rating.
Published: Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:01 AM IST