The Super Cup 2018 opener saw ISL champions Chennaiyin FC bow out to Aizawl FC on penalties. The cracker of a contest that ended in a 2-2 draw, after 120 minutes of football and penalty shootout was required for the result.
Seeing some amazing fightbacks from both teams, it was fatigue which was to blame as Chennaiyin FC seemed out of sorts by the end. Coach John Gregory was all praise for his boys and spoke after the match reiterating the same.
"We’ve had a very long season and have had to work extremely hard in every single match. We’ve had 170 training days since October 1 where everyone had to mentally and physically be prepared for the training, travelling and to win matches. It culminated in us being champions, two weeks ago," said Gregory, after the loss.
He added, “We had five of the boys going for the national team who worked really hard. They looked particularly tired on the field and one of them (Jeje Lalpekhlua) I left out because he’s had extremely tough 12 months. He has put so much energy and mental concentration.
“I have got nothing but compliments for my team as to how they have performed this season. Tonight, I kind of expected the performance from us; it was difficult to find the motivation after what we achieved in the last couple of weeks. But my boys gave their best. We came back twice. We had a few chances (which) we maybe should have done better with," said Gregory.
Gregory felt that extra time added to the woes of his team as players had were tired due to pulled muscles and non-availability of substitutions made matters worse for the team. The team losing in the shootout wasn’t disappointing according to Gregory, even though it was a surprising opener to the cracker of a tournament that awaits us.