Chennaiyin coach Materrazi: We will fight for our fans

The buzz from Chennaiyin supporters will be missing, and the roar in the galleries around Chennai’s Marina Arena cannot be recreated at Balewadi.

Chennaiyin FC coach Marco Materrazi is upbeat ahead of the first leg of the second semi-final against Atletico de Kolkata.   -  The Hindu

Chennaiyin FC is making an all-out effort to garner support from Pune footballers and academies into the first-leg of the second semi-final, which has been designated a ‘home game’ for the visitors, at the neutral Balewadi stadium in Pune.

Jeje Lalpekhlua, a known face here due to a successful season with I-League squad Pune FC, is activating his network along with Chennaiyin assistant coach Vivek Nagul.

Chennaiyin coach, Marco Materazzi, summed up the mood within, saying: “We will fight for our fans”, referring to the thousands back home, busy getting back to their normal lives due to flood.

The buzz from Chennaiyin supporters will be missing, and the roar in the galleries around Chennai’s Marina Arena cannot be recreated at Balewadi.

Chennaiyin had set up training base here for a week and took advantage of Pune FC infrastructure to prepare against ATK, coached by Materazzi's friendly rival Antonio Habas.

“We respect each other. He is fighting on the sideline, almost as if he is playing. I want to win, so it is good we are not playing. Otherwise, both would be booked (for fouls),” said the Italian, who was not happy playing at a neutral venue.

The team is planning a symbolic gesture, to show support for people back in Chennai, who are struggling to put their lives together. Chennaiyin FC is planning to lend a hand in relief and rehabilitation. Winning a make-or-break football game is a step towards it.