The ball found the back of the net nine times at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, but six of those were for a comfortably dominant Chennaiyin FC side as the visitor beat Kerala Blasters 6-3 on Saturday.
Chennaiyin was aided by braces from Lallianzuala Chhangte, Nerijus Valskis and Rafael Crivellaro. However, one won't be wrong in crediting their rampage today to the absentee Blasters' defense instead.
Skipper and striker Bartholomew Ogbeche and defender Gianni Zuiverloon were the only bright spots in an otherwise shambolic display at the Blasters' home turf. Ogbeche starred with a brilliant hat-trick, the first of this season and the 22nd in the League's history to try and bring his side back into the game. However, abysmal defending from the home side shot it in the foot as it dropped to its seventh loss of the season, effectively ending hopes of breaking into the top four and ending its campaign in this edition of the League.
Here's a look at the biggest talking points from this game of the ISL:
As it happened:ISL Kerala Blasters 3-6 Chennaiyin FC, highlights: a hat-trick, three braces mark nine-goal tie
Get in line, TP
Blasters keeper TP Rehenesh had a nightmare of a night, all due to a tendency to come way off his line, leaving the goal unmanned. While that cost him at a few points through the night, the biggest howler of the night had to be the opener of the tie. Rafael Crivellaro's goal for Chennaiyin FC may as well have Rehenesh registered for the assist. In the 39th minute, in an attempt to clear the ball, Rehenesh passed it straight down to Crivellaro who made no mistake from there on to get his side up on the scoreboard. Coach Eelco Schattorie famously called TP his first choice keeper but perhaps it's time for the Blasters to mix things up and use the services of Bilal Khan for a bit.
While the aforementioned instance was his one true-blue error, the pressure got to the keeper, evident in his shaky keeping thereon. Rehenesh should not shoulder the blame for the night. Kerala's defense was criminally porous, with Zuiverloon being the only one taking the brunt of Chennaiyin's arsenal. He put his body on the line more than once to stop a bulldozing Crivellaro. One wonders how steep the difference between the sides would have been if not for the Dutchman.
Match report |ISL 2019-20: Chennaiyin does the double over Blasters, Ogbeche hat-trick in vain
O for overdependence, O for Ogbeche
Kerala Blasters has, throughout the course of this season, relied unhealthily on Ogbeche for its scoring requirements. Rafael Messi Bouli was signed on to bolster the arsenal but on the field, it's almost always Ogbeche pulling the team out of the ditch when things go downhill. However, the Nigerian could not successfully pull off one of his rescue acts again, despite coming close. A brilliant hat-trick saw sublime shots from the skipper as he tore through a Chennaiyin lineup to try and give his side a fighting chance. At the post match press conference, Ogbeche's tone was sombre. "We still have a thousand reasons to end this season strongly. We have three games left ad we owe to our fans to win, to give them something to cheer for."
Chennaiyin's vitamin C
Chhangte and Crivellaro were Chennaiyin's lucky charms of the night. The Indian national has always had great pace and that came in handy as he registered a brace to his name in Kochi. Crivellaro was clinical playing that central midfielder role to perfection on Saturday. Not only did he manage two goals of his own, but he also set up Valskis in the first half. He also dropped back to defensive formations as and when required, especially in the second half. That no one could keep Ogbeche quiet was more a comment on the striker's brilliance than Chennaiyin's defense.
Chennaiyin FC scored it's 150th goal in its 100th game in the League against an opposition playing its 50th game at home. Coach Owen Coyle promised the Men in Yellow a shot at the playoffs and it certainly looks like the Scott won't be settling for anything less than that.