Chennaiyin FC Back on Track; NorthEast United Back to the Drawing Board
You folks have no idea how wonderfully justified I feel with this result. I’ve always maintained that Gregory Nelson is one of the signings of the season across the Indian Super League. After his performance in yesterday’s game, I feel thoroughly pleased with myself. He was glorious even though he wasn’t the best on the pitch.
In case you missed the game, NorthEast United FC were mauled by the Super Machans three goals to nought. It was one of the most one sided games I’ve seen in my life. The Highlanders all did everything but default the game. They may have done better had they defaulted. At least their confidence wouldn’t be smithereens.
How Chennaiyin Played
Chennaiyin recovered well from their tactical faux-pas of last game against FC Goa. Gregory had made two tactical errors in that game. The first was to play Rene Mihelic in the starting eleven with Raphael August and the other was to play wide wing style of game with Jeje in the middle.
Both those errors were fixed in this game but not how I had envisioned the fixes. Goes to show that training ground insight is far more important than television viewing; a lot of football fans would benefit from that little tidbit of wisdom. How did Gregory fix those errors?
The first one was fixed by replacing Mihelic with Gregory Nelson. Nelson’s wing play bamboozled NorthEast United defenders every time he had the ball. It is no secret that I like this guy so I feel very happy that he did so well.
The other tactical error was corrected by injecting a defensive Indian central midfielder and pushing Raphael Augusto forward into the attacking midfielder role. Augusto has height on him so he can be a threat on crosses. He didn’t need to be much of a threat with his head, though. Instead, he combined well with Augusto. I want to see this partnership more.
It is also worth pointing out that Gregory kept his defence together which meant that Inigo Calderon continued in his right back position. By not changing his defence around, Gregory showed them the mythical managerial faith. It worked too because Chennaiyin kept a clean sheet with Calderon particularly in imperial form.
How NorthEast United Played
Oh, NorthEast United. You’ve actually gotten worse from your last three seasons. In the previous seasons, at least, you had your heart in the right place and philosophy in the noble spectrum. Now, you’ve just turned into also-rans who can’t even entertain their fans.
Do you know that NEU were one of my favourites through the last three seasons? It was simply because they were principled in terms of football development and football purity.
In previous seasons, NEU were about youth, pace, and passing. You know, the noblest way of playing football? The way that is lauded by experts, pundits, and fans the world over even if you lose 3 – 0? In this season, they’ve turned into the stereotype of all small teams trying to nick a living in football. I’m very disappointed.
Why does NorthEast United have so many players above 6 feet in height? Why do the Highlanders have such massively built physical players? You know the answer. It is because they’re playing that annoying style of football where you send the ball forward and run after it like your ass is on fire.
When they weren’t lobbing dud grenades at the Chennaiyin defence, they were imagining they were all Indian Messis. Every midfielder in NEUTD thinks he can dribble through three or four players. The thing is they couldn’t even beat their individual markers.
Their “star” striker is Cezario or Danilo Lopes Cezario. He’s supposedly from the famed Santos Academy in Brazil. I didn’t see any famed Santos flair, though. I saw him thinking that he had skills but every time he would try to use them the ball would either spill out 3 yards ahead of him or be left 3 yards behind him.
He played so badly that it was almost comical. The only problem was that he had the “I’m chilled out because I’m gonna pull a magical goal any minute” kind of look on his face. I can tell you he had me fooled. I kept expecting him to do something great while serially wincing at all his mistakes.
Cezario, folks, lived inside Henrique Sereno’s pockets all night long. Sereno didn’t even have to put him in his back pocket, Cezario just leapt into it for some warmth and a cuddle. Luiz Paez would’ve been a much better option through the middle as he showed when he came on late in the game.
If you thought Cezario was bad, you should’ve seen the central defenders. Their foreign import Jose Julio Goncalves (central defender) was so uncertain on the ball I had to check if he was wearing those big shoes that clowns wear. Is a failed wrestler by any chance? Do any of you know?
His partner in this abomination of a crime called defending wasn’t that much better either. Step forward Abdul Hakku. Both these guys were all height and strength but no skill.
I have to admit that I didn’t see NEUTD against Jamshedpur FC. I hear that they did quite well. I don’t know how they played. I don’t know if their tactics and playing style was same. What I do know is that if it was like this, they couldn’t have played all that well or Jamshedpur FC must’ve been playing with midgets in their team.
NorthEast United, I’m sorry to say, were soundly beaten. They didn’t even put up a fight. The worst of it was the distinct lack of commitment and desire.
Goals from Chennaiyin
Chennaiyin’s lead may have come with luck but they dominated the entire game so it was more than deserved. It was a clipped ball from Augusto that was basically meant for the vertical run of Jeje Lalpekhlua. In his bid to cut it out, the NEUTD defender (I think, it was Hakku) diverted it into the net. Augusto got to celebrate, though, and Gregory got to look like a genius for pushing him into a more offensive position. Incidentally, even though I think the goal should go to Augusto, it was deemed an own goal.
The second goal made Gregory look even more of a genius since it was set up his namesake and finished by Augusto again. The goal came after a very good move from the Super Machans. The move saw Gregory galloping on the inside left flank. He checked into his defender and cross a ball to Augusto. Augusto made no mistake whatsoever and finished with composure. For me, it was far too easy for Chennaiyin to open up the NEUTD defence.
The third goal was an opportunistic one from Mohammed Rafi when NEUTD had all but thrown in the towel. He scored with a simple header from a rebound off the crossbar. The ball hit the crossbar after a gorgeous banana freekick from Jaime Gavilan.
Goals from NorthEast United
There were none. Don’t laugh.
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