Chennaiyin wary of 'young' Aizawl challenge

The ISL champion had played a pre-season friendly match against Aizawl in October and has an idea of the side's capability on the pitch and how fierce the contest is going to be.

A file photo of Chennaiyin FC during a training session.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Chennaiyin FC coach John Gregory cleared it out that the Indian Super League champion's main intent in the Super Cup is to win, as the Chennai-outfit will open its Super Cup campaign against Aizawl FC on Saturday.

"The Super League season has ended. The euphoria of winning the final is already over and now we have another challenge right in front of us. We are a very professional outfit and we're back to the ground now to focus on this tournament starting tomorrow with every intention of winning."

The ISL champion had played a pre-season friendly match against the previous I-League champion in October and Gregory mentioned that his team has a knowledge of the side's capability on the pitch and how fierce the contest is going to be.

"We played a pre-season game against them. We know a bit about them. They were very successful last season, became I-League champions. We are obviously aware of the fact that it's going to be a fiercely contested game tomorrow."

Chennaiyin FC head coach John Gregory during a press conference ahead of his team's match against Aizawl FC in the Super Cup 2018 pre-quarterfinal in Bhubaneswar.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

 

Dhanapal Ganesh, who is back from the Indian national team setup following the AFC Asian Cup qualifier game added, "We had enjoyed a lot after winning the ISL title but now we're focusing on tomorrow's match. It's definitely going to be a tough challenge for us."

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Nonetheless, Gregory hinted that he might throw in a few fresh pair of legs into the ring. "In the ISL, we couldn't experiment much as all the games were very crucial. There's always a possibility of throwing 1-2 players with lesser experience to tomorrow's game who couldn't game more opportunity before."

On the other hand, Aizawl FC coach Santosh Kashyap stressed that the match is very evenly poised and his boys can spoil Chennaiyin FC's party. "We are a young team and we are pitted against one of the best teams. But anyone can beat anyone in a knock-out tournament. We'll try to do our best and win tomorrow's game."

He further added, "My players are fighters by heart. It's a  great opportunity and we'll put the best effort to win the game. The boys are here to cope up with the new challenge. It's nothing but a 50-50 before the game kicks off tomorrow. If we perform to our potential, we can beat them", Kashyap rattled it out during the pre-match press conference.

Meanwhile, David Lalrinzuala is injured and will not available. Alfred Jaryan, the Liberian midfielder who led the Northeastern outfit to lift its maiden I-League trophy last season mentioned that the team is rearing to show their worth once again and they're ready to accept the challenge.

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"It is a new challenge and we're ready for that. We have played in different tournaments and we believe that we can show our worth in the Hero Super Cup too."