Chennaiyin FC will be looking to break its four-game winless run as it hosts ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) at the Marina Arena in an Indian Super League fixture on Friday.
In its last match, Chennaiyin had to settle for a point against Hyderabad FC, despite being the more dominant side, after a late Bartholomew Ogbeche penalty.
Speaking about his side’s inability to convert good performances into wins, Chennaiyin coach Thomas Brdaric said, “ It is football. It is unpredictable. I always tell my players that if we score like three goals a game, we can afford few mistakes and don’t have to rely on referees.”
“I see progress. It is more settled and the players have a better understanding of each other. But it is not mirroring in the results. It is a tough job to go to the next level. But we are close,” he added in the pre-match press conference.
Brdaric also ruled out Dutch attacker Nasser El Khayati, who has seven goals from seven games this season, from tomorrow’s game. “He needs a little more time. His hamstring issue is getting better, but he needs at least a week to get back into it.”
With ISL heading into its final lap, Chennaiyin, which is currently eighth in the table, will be eager for all three points to put itself in a better position in the play-off scrap and has the advantage of having four home games left in its kitty.
“It’s important to finish top-6. I think those [four matches at home] will be crucial because if we grab all the points at home, it will be a plus point for us. Playing away against Goa and Bengaluru will be difficult because they are also in the race,” said Chennaiyin captain Anirudh Thapa.
The Marina Machans had edged the Mariners 2-1 in Kolkata, when they met earlier in the season, thanks to goals from Kwame Karikari and Rahim Ali, in what was the season opener for the two sides.
ATKMB, which is fourth in the league, comes into the game following a narrow 0-1 defeat to Mumbai City FC at home.
But Juan Ferrando’s men will take confidence from the fact that it outplayed the league leader, particularly in the second half, and could have gathered a point or more if not a sparkling display by the Islanders’ custodian Phurba Lachenpa.
A win tomorrow would help the Kolkata giant leapfrog Kerala Blasters to the third position in the league and put itself in a prime position for a play-off spot.