Football

Chennai City on the verge of a historic triumph

Gearing up: Chennai City FC players, honing their skills, will be keen on getting full points .  

Six months ago, nobody thought Chennai City FC would be fighting for the title. But strong picks and better building process changed the fortunes of the team, which is just a win away from an historic triumph in the Hero I-League.

Can the team get past last year’s winner Minerva Punjab FC in its final league clash at the Nehru Stadium here on Saturday?

“Whatever happens tomorrow is still a process,” said Akbar Nawas, its coach.

“We did not even dream of being in this position but that does not mean we will not go all out for a win. We have been doing exactly that right from the start of the season,” he added.

Praise for players

He said the team has performed beyond expectations. “The reason we have come this far is because of our players. I am talking about the local players and, the game is all about them.”

So what is Akbar’s advise to his boys on the big occasion?

“In tomorrow’s game, the pressure is real and, I have told them how to overcome it. For the past four days, we have been having video and one-on-one sessions. I talked to each one of them and found out what was bothering them and guided them accordingly,” he said.

Jesus will be missed

The team will certainly miss the services of Nestor Gordillo Jesus, who has a one-match suspension. “He is a very important player. He has scored nine goals and has had nine assists.

“Everybody knows that we will miss him, but the beauty of Saturday’s game is that I am not bringing just eleven players but 18 of first eleven players,” said Akbar.

Chennai City will also have its eyes on the East Bengal versus Gokulam clash scheduled the same day at Kerala. The Kolkata giants are also in the race for glory. “It does not matter. East Bengal will beat Gokulam 100%, but our focus is only on our game,” he added.

Minerva Punjab FC’s coach Sachin Badadhe said the team is going for those three points. “The pressure is not on us but on Chennai City. They want to have the championship but we are going to go for a win.

“If you look at the matches they have played, we are the only team they have not beaten so far. So we will go out there and give them a good fight.”

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 4:39:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/chennai-city-on-the-verge-of-a-historic-triumph/article26474838.ece

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