Five talking points from Chennai’s frustrating stalemate with Kerala Blasters
Chennai played out a 0-0 stalemate with Kerala Blasters at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Thursday evening, further lowering their chances of making the playoffs this season.
Chennai coach John Gregory said in the pre-match press conference he’s had to “change combinations to see what works best.” Against Kerala, he made five changes, as Sanjiban Ghosh, Laldinliana Renthlei, Thoi Singh, Isaac Vanmalsawma and Andrea Orlandi all replaced Karanjit Singh, Germanpreet Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Gregory Nelson and Francis Fernandes.
While the decision made Chennai more solid at the back, they failed to convert big chances. Kerala, too, did have their chances to put the game to rest but their strikers were just as clinical as Chennai’s.
In spite of the disappointing result, Chennai leapfrogged Pune City, the only team they’ve defeated this season, as they now sit eighth having claimed five points in nine outings. Kerala, meanwhile, remain seventh on eight points, with five draws in nine games.
Neither side had a good outing, with either side’s forwards squandering chances they would have converted on any other day. Anyway, here are five talking points from the game.
5. Chennai’s Jeje Lalpekhlua still has it
Jeje Lalpekhlua is a Chennai legend. Being one of the handful of players to be a one-club man in Indian Super League and having scored 15 goals in their two title-winning seasons, he’s definitely earned the fans’ respect. This season, however, his contribution has been paltry, as he still hasn’t found the net.
Against Kerala, though, Jeje looked confident, determined and ready to inspire his side to a win; he even set up a golden opportunity for Thoi Singh only for the makeshift winger to miss from close range. However, he received little support from the creative cast as they failed to create big chances in true Chennai fashion.