ISL 2018-19: Kerala Blasters' CK Vineeth close to joining Chennaiyin FC?
The Kochi-based club was expected to let go three of its top Indian players - Sandesh Jhingan, CK Vineeth and Halicharan Narzary. While Jhingan is linked with a move to ATK and FC Goa, Vineeth has drawn interest from Chennaiyin FC.
Although Chennaiyin FC are no longer in the contention for a spot in the Indian Super League (ISL) playoffs, they are set to make their debut in the AFC Cup, the second-tier continental competition which is equivalent to the Europa League.
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Given that Jeje Lalpekhlua is struggling to find his feet in front of the goal, Chennaiyin FC were forced to look elsewhere for options. Their other forward, Carlos Salom of Palestine, has also found the back of the net only on one occasion despite playing 11 matches. Mohammed Rafi, the third forward, has played only six minutes in the ISL. Interestingly, midfielder Thoi Singh is their top-scorer this season with four goals.
Vineeth is no longer a fan favourite at Kerala Blasters for his comments on the Manjappada. He was upset with the Kerala Blasters' fan army for jeering him whenever he could not score a goal or inspire his team to victory.
In an interview with the Hindu, Vineeth had said he would definitely move out of Blasters at the end of the season but it appears he has found a club that wants him right now itself.
Chennaiyin FC need to first clear a playoff round in March before moving up to the group stages.
They will play the winner of the two-legged tie between Colombo FC of Sri Lanka and Transport United of Bhutan for a spot in Group E.
Chennaiyin FC's playoff tie is on March 6 and March 13 with the second leg behind the 'home' match in Chennai or Ahmedabad.
In Group E, Chennaiyin FC will bump into a club from Bangladesh, Nepal and possibly Minerva Punjab, if the I-League holders do not win their AFC Champions League qualifier.
As for Vineeth, the move will hand him a great opportunity to resurrect his career. Vineeth has struck twice in 585 minutes of football for Blasters this season.