ISL 2019-20: Chennaiyin FC 3-1 Kerala Blasters - Talking Points

Andre Schembri, Nerijus Valskis and Lallianzuala Chhangte scored as Chennaiyin FC beat Kerala Blasters 3-1 at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium on Friday.

Chennaiyin FC players celebrate a goal in the 3-1 win over Kerala Blasters at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.   -  ISL/SPORTZPICS

Lallianzuala Chhangte shone for Chennaiyin FC as it registered a dominating  3-1 over Kerala Blasters FC on Friday at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai. The game was not without controversy as the Chennaiyin saw its second goal disallowed after the referee awarded a contentious free kick to Kerala Blasters and then revoked the host's goal in the first half.

The win took Chennaiyin to eighth in the Indian Super League (ISL) standings, which went level on points with Odisha FC on nine with a game in hand. Kerala Blasters failed to create chances and slipped to ninth in the table.


Referee's howler raises more questions

The ISL 2019-20 has seen a number of contentious decisions which changed the course of the match. The multiple lenient decisions for Mumbai City FC players despite multiple brash fouls against ATK in the match at Kolkata was a prime example of referees' indecision.

In the 25th minute, referee Om Prakash Thakur incorrectly awarded a free-kick in favour of Chennaiyin after what appeared to be a foul from Anirudh Thapa on Seityasen Singh. Nerijus Valskis quickly restarted play which set Chennaiyin on a counter-attack against static Blasters defence, as Andre Schembri laid it in Valskis' path for a simple finish.

This led to a huge outrage from the visiting players who claimed that the free kick was wrong. After a long drawn-out discussion with his assistants, the referee revoked his decision which in turn infuriated the Chennaiyin bench.

Chennaiyin's two goals by the end of the first period put off the fire for a while, but the decisions taken in this match will add more weight to the ISL's recent request to the All India Football Federation to raise the refereeing standards in the league.

Chhangte dazzles, misery for Rakip

Lallianzuala Chhangte shone the brightest among the Chennaiyin forwardline as his electric pace and clinical finishing was too much for the Blasters' defence. The 22-year old showed ominous signs when he burst into the box after receiving a throughball from Germanpreet Singh and forced Mohammed Rakip into a last-ditch tackle.

The winger put Chennaiyin's disappointment at the overturned goal by applying neat finish in the 30th minute and showed brilliant vision to lob the ball over an onrushing T.P. Rehenesh to put Valskis clear off the goal.

Rakip on the other hand, endured a nightmarish evening in Chennai as he was often caught out of position or beaten for pace by Chhangte. The 19-year old was lucky to escape a booking for a nudge on Valskis in the first half while seemed completely lost when he gave away the ball inside the area late in the second half.

Ogbeche unleashes lightning

Bartholomew's Ogbeche's fitness concerns had more often than not blunted the Kerala Blasters' attack for a majority of this season. The talismanic forward's return to the starting lineup raised hopes for Eelco Schattorie, who was watching the game from the stands due to a suspension.

The Dutchman, who spent most of his time seething at his side's dismal display, put on a determined face when Ogbeche foxed the Chennaiyin defence to unleash a rocket from outside the box. However, the Kerala captain was rubbing one of his eyes repeatedly during the added time in the first half and had to be subbed off at half-time. Though there has been no official update on Ogbeche's issue, it is definitely a cause of concern for a Blasters side which looks deflated.

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