I-League: Gaurav Bora emerges hero for Chennai City FC

Gaurav Bora's brace turned the tie in Chennai City FC's favour as the side defeated Minerva Punjab FC 3-1 to soar to its first I-League title.

Chennai City FC

Champions of India: Chennai City FC players celebrate after beating Minerva Punjab FC to win their maiden I-League title on Saturday.   -  Siva Saravanan

The Spaniards have hogged the limelight for Chennai City FC this season but, for a change, it was Gaurav Bora who turned out to be side's hero in the final I-League game against Minerva Punjab FC on Saturday.

Bora's brace turned the tie in Chennai City's favour as the side defeated Minerva 3-1 to soar to its first I-League title.

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The lean and lanky centre-back was thrilled having scored a double and what made it all the more special was that these were his only goals of the season. "The pressure was obviously there but we played as a team. We believed in each other and worked hard and I am happy that I got those goals when the team needed it most," he said.

Gaurav Bora

A teary-eyed Gaurav Bora accepts the Hero of the Match award after scoring a stunning brace against Minerva Punjab FC on Saturday.   -  Siva Saravanan


- Akbar, a happy man -

Chennai City's coach Akbar Nawas was happy as well with his effort. "I was happy in a way that we were a goal down early. I knew the team had the character to fight back. I always knew we could come back from any situation and I am happy that my boys did that for me," he said.

He said it was a bonus that his boys won the title. "But it is not over, the process of further building the team will continue. We need to improve. Next year, we will be working on how not to concede goals, in creating more chances and to be even more effective in ball possession.

"We need the players to move up to another level. If they keep on playing like this then the national team will come calling for them," he added.

How about the Super Cup later this month? "I am not going to think about it now. I want to take a break and be out of all this thinking for the next three days. I will be happy if we party the whole night," he said.

Talking about the future of Indian football, he said, "We need to make it one league. Maybe a 20 team league, then the national players will improve. Right now, they are only playing 20 matches a year. World Cup professionals play 40-45 games a year."

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Chennai City FC's captain last year, Michael Soosairaj -- who is now with Jamshedpur FC -- also watched the winning moments from the sidelines. "I am happy that a team from Tamil Nadu has done it for the first time. We have got more than ten players from this part of the State and most of them played the main role," he said.

Michael Soosairaj

Former Chennai City FC captain Michael Soosairaj, who now plays for Indian Super League outfit Jamshedpur FC, was in attendance for Saturday's I-League game against Minerva Punjab FC.   -  Aashin Prasad


"I have no words to express how happy I am today. If the team was able to emerge successful this season it mainly because of coach Akbar. Only after his arrival, fortunes changed for the better for the team. He gets full credit," added Soosairaj.

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