Fatorda, March 9 (IANS) Chennaiyin FC star striker Jeje lalpekhlua on Friday said unlike other teams in the Indian Super League (ISL), where you have only two or three players making the mark, the Chennai-based club has many goal-scorers and the team is playing collectively.
From the start, they have had goal-scorers from all over the pitch. In fact, 11 different players have scored for them this season.
“We have goals coming from all around the team. When the attackers have not been able to get the goals, players from other parts of the pitch have contributed,” Jeje said ahead of the crucial semi-final game against FC Goa.
Their semi-final opponents FC Goa, who depend overwhelmingly on the Spanish combination of striker Ferran Corominas and left-winger Manuel Lanzarote — who have scored 30 goals between them – or Marcelinho and Emiliano Alfaro at Pune City or Miku and (Sunil) Chhetri at Bengaluru FC, Chennaiyin FC have shown during the league stage that they have had players rising to the occasion every time the team needed.
“We have had (Henrique) Sereno headed in the winner against Pune and Dhanpal (Ganesh) did the same against BFC. Inigo (Calderon) and Mailson (Alves) has also chipped in. Similarly Raphael Augusto, Rene Mihelic, Mohammed Rafi, Gregory Nelcon, Francis Fernandes and Anirudha Thapa have also added their names to the long list of scorers for the club,” explained the Mizoram striker, who himself has scored seven goals till now for the club.
One of the prime reason of an all round performance by Chennaiyin FC is the strong fitness and mental strength, which can give them an edge over the rivals.
“When Raphael got injured, Rene came in and performed. When Sereno was suspended, Dhanachandra (Singh) stepped in. The bench strength is good this season,” Jeje said.
Their coach John Gregory also stressed to the fact that they got a good medical department which helped a lot in this football tournament.
“We’ve got a fantastic medical department. My head of sports science Niall Clark keeps everybody fit. I’ve even had problems choosing players for the bench. It’s a testament to the way we look after our players with games coming thick and fast,” Gregory, who has already used 24 of his 25 registered players, said.
Only third goalkeeper Shahin Lal Meloli has not played for Chennaiyin this season.
“We monitor their bodies and everything always. We know what condition our players are in. When we had the opportunity to rest them, we did that,” he added.