ISL: Chennaiyin seals third win on the trot - Talking points
Chennnaiyin FC sealed a comfortable 4-1 win over Jamshedpur at its home ground on Thursday to jump to the sixth spot, three points behind fourth-placed Odisha FC.
Nerijus Valskis celebrates his brace against Jamshedpur FC.
Chennaiyin FC put up a dominant performance at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Thursday as it defeated Jamshedpur FC 4-1. Nerijus Valskis topped the goal-scoring charts with his brace, whereas Andre Schembri and Lallianzuala Chhnagte netted one each.
The win took Chennaiyin to the sixth spot, and the Owen Coyle-coached side is very much alive in the fight for the playoffs as it remains only three points behind fourth-placed Odisha FC, which has played a match more than the two-time ISL champion.
Here are the major talking points from the five-goal thriller:
Match report | ISL: Valskis brace helps Chennaiyin trounce Jamshedpur
1) Goal-scoring machine Valskis delivers again
Nerijus Valskis scored twice to ensure Chennaiyin secured its third win on the trot. The Lithuanian striker opened the account with a clinical flick towards goal in the first half and added another in the second, with a cheeky dink over goalkeeper Subrata Paul.
The two strikes against Jamshedpur took his tally to 10 goals, the highest this season. Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru FC) and Aridane Santana (Odisha FC) are joint-second with nine goals each.
Valskis, with his 10 goals, has scored 50% of Chennaiyin's total goals (20) this season.
2) Spanish forwards Castel, Grande put up mediocre show
Sergio Castel, who missed Jamshedpur's last five matches due to an injury, returned to the starting XI against Chennaiyin. The Spaniard paired up with David Grande in attack but the duo caused little to no trouble for the home side.
While Castel snatched the clean sheet from Vishal Kaith with his header in the second half, Grande was so poor that he was brought off before the game resumed in the latter half.
Castel looked off colour as he registered two shots on target. Apart from Castel, only Noe Acosta had a shot on target, which explained Jamshedpur's poor performance in attack.
Match highlights | Chennaiyin vs Jamshedpur
3) Playoffs hope alive for in-form Chennaiyin
With its third-straight win, Chennaiyin moved to the sixth spot and is now only three points behind fourth-placed Odisha. Chennaiyin has however played 13 matches, one less than Odisha's 14 so far.
As it stands, Odisha (21 points), Mumbai City (19 points) and Chennaiyin (18 points) are all fighting for the fourth spot. The top four will proceed to the playoffs.
Mumbai too has a game in hand and it faces Hyderabad away on January 24. As for Chennaiyin, it plays its next match away to Kerala Blasters on February 1.