Chennaiyin look for inspiration with Odisha FC keen to continue groove


Goa: Things are not looking that pretty for Chennaiyin FC – just one win in their last eight games, and captain Rafael Crivellaro ruled out for the season. No one else more than Csaba Laszlo would be eager to morph afresh. They need not look far for inspiration as the Super Machans face Odisha FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Sunday, who had their own winless rut broken recently.

However, the order to recover from what was perhaps their worst display of the season, against Hyderabad remains quite tall. Many of the strengths that they displayed in early season looked to have vanished. Chennaiyin let in four goals against Hyderabad, the same number they conceded in their first four matches. Add that to their misfiring attack — they have just scored eight goals, the lowest in the league — and Chennaiyin find themselves in a real conundrum.

“I think the last game’s performance was bad,” said Laszlo. “I don’t want to run away from this because altogether we made a lot of mistakes. I think after this game, everybody in my team has to go and think about it. From the first minute to the last, we were not really in the picture. We have to change, we have to analyze the mistakes and we have to go back to where we were before.”

Chennaiyin’s foreign players have been underwhelming so far — they have just three goals between them, the lowest by any foreign contingent. Laszlo will hope for more from them against Odisha.

Stuart Baxter’s team, meanwhile, will be hoping to pick up from the thumping win they scored over Kerala. They may still be rooted to the bottom of the table, but a win over Chennaiyin will take them to within two points of their opponents on Sunday. They also seem to have found an unlikely creative force in Jerry Mawihmingthanga, who now leads the Hero ISL charts for assists along with Hugo Boumous.

“It’s important to the degree that we needed to get those three points to give the players the belief and the confidence to continue the roll around,” said Baxter. “The players did a fantastic job in retaining their confidence and their belief despite the results being against us sometimes quite unluckily. But, we do need that to gain a little bit of momentum and now hopefully, we can kick on.”

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