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Super Cup 2019, Chennaiyin FC vs NorthEast United FC: 5 Talking Points

Anirudh Thapa of Chennaiyin FC in a tussle for possession with Reagan Singh of NorthEast United during their Super Cup match
Anirudh Thapa of Chennaiyin FC in a tussle for possession with Reagan Singh of NorthEast United during their Super Cup match
Srijon Choudhury

Chennaiyin FC faced off against this season's Indian Super League semi-finalist NorthEast United FC in the Super Cup. It was the last quarter-final of the Super Cup and both the teams were playing to fix their spots in the semifinals.

While Chennaiyin FC got into the Quarter Finals by defeating Mumbai City FC, NorthEast United FC got into the Quarter Finals on the back of a walkover awarded to them by NEROCA FC.

Both the teams knew understood the importance of the tie and approached the game accordingly.

The first half started on a bright note for the Highlanders as they took the lead in the ninth minute through Rowllin Borges.

Chennaiyin FC came back strongly in the game and equalised through a Mailson Alves header before Anirudh Thapa finished off a beautiful solo run to give Chennaiyin the lead before half time.

The scoreboard read 2-1 in favour of Chennaiyin FC at half time.

With both the teams failing to score in the second half the game ended 2-1 in favour of Chennaiyin FC which saw them progress to the semi-finals of the Super Cup.

On that note, let us take a look at the five talking points from today's game.


#5 Lack of Squad Depth keep haunting NorthEast United FC

NorthEast United FC came into this game with just 13 fit players which included two goalkeepers. The lack of squad depth has been a significant issue for the side based in Guwahati.

The lack of squad depth caused a lot of concerns for the Northeast United dugout during the business end of the Indian Super League. It also had an impact on today's game as NEUFC were without the likes of Ogbeche, Gallego, Redeem, Robert, Rehnesh who were all out injured.

The situation also meant that NorthEast United FC was without many options during the game. They couldn't make many changes during the match tactically due to the lack of options on the bench.

After Chennaiyin FC took the lead the lack of options had a significant impact on Northeast United's gameplay.

NorthEast United FC as a team looked sloppy and uninterested in playing the game today, and that mental aspect showed on the field.

#4 NorthEast United FC a two-person show in the attacking third?

NorthEast United FC missed the combo of Gallego and Ogbeche today
NorthEast United FC missed the combo of Gallego and Ogbeche today

NorthEast United FC have been superb in this season ISL, but Gallego and Ogbeche have shared most of their attacking workload and scored most of the goals and has the highest assists too.

Today the Highlanders started without both Barth and Gallego in a crucial game for the first time this season, and its effect is there for all to see.

Even though NorthEast United FC took the initial lead in the game, their attacking third looked jaded and unimpressive.

Without Barth and Gallego NorthEast United FC just don't look to be the same side. Their whole creativity in midfield disappears, and the entire team seems to be one disjointed unit.

NorthEast United FC was forced to field a half fit Ogbeche in the second half to try and find the equaliser which didn't happen.

Without Gallego, the NorthEast United FC midfield lacked creativity and the transition from defence to attack lacked swiftness.

Overall, NorthEast United FC missed the combo of Gallego and Ogbeche today.

#3 Rowlin Borges' love story with Eelco Schattorie continues

Rowllin excelled in his role as a more advanced midfielder as he was given the license by Eelco to venture forward
Rowllin excelled in his role as a more advanced midfielder as he was given the license by Eelco to venture forward

People familiar with Indian football know Rowllin Borges to be a defensive midfielder often used by coaches as a defensive screen in front of the back four.

Some coaches used him as a 'regista' or deep-lying playmaker. Off late he has also been used in a box to box role with more emphasis on defence.

Eelco Schattorie is probably the first coach to use Rowllin in such an attacking role. When Eelco first started using Rowllin in this position a lot of pundits predicted it to be a futile attempt one which would doom NorthEast United FC this season. But, well the thing with football is you never know when your fate changes.

Rowllin excelled in his role as a more advanced midfielder as he was given the license by Eelco to venture forward.

He rewarded his coach's fate in him with goals, and not just goals but goals at significant time and situations.

Today was no different for the combo of Rowllin and Eelco, and one could see Putiea having a more defensive role while Rowllin went ahead and took part in the attack.

He once again showed his goal scoring talents as he scored the only goal for NorthEast United FC in the game.

#2 Chennaiyin FC on the verge of recovery, make it five games without defeat

 Chennaiyin FC have of late started recovering from their rather long slump of form
Chennaiyin FC have of late started recovering from their rather long slump of form

Chennaiyin FC had their worst season in ISL history after they finished 10th in the league standings with just two wins throughout the season.

It was also the first time in an ISL season that the defending champions have had such a poor season finishing bottom of the table.

The Marina Machans know that their season wasn't over with the ISL coming to an end. They have of late started recovering from their rather long slump of form and have improved quite well to get into the Super Cup semi-finals and also get into the AFC Cup group stages.

As records stand at the moment, Chennaiyin FC has not lost a game in their last five games, and they will hope to keep that stat intact when they play ATK in the Super Cup semi-finals.

Jeje, Anirudh Thapa, Mailson Alves, Raphael Augusto have finally found their form and Chennaiyin will hope to finish the season on a high with a trophy to show for at the end of the season.

#1 The Anirudh Thapa Show

Thapa was the livewire of today's game
Thapa was the livewire of today's game

'Veni Vidi Vici' the famous Latin phase is an honest description of Thapa's performance today. He came, He saw, He conquered. Thapa was the livewire of today's game. One could say he single-handedly won the game for Chennaiyin FC.

It was from his sublime cross that Mailson Alves headed in the equaliser, and then a few minutes later Thapa showed why he is rated so highly in Indian football circle. First of all, he stole the ball brilliantly from Putiea and then went on a solo run where he used his strength cleverly to keep off Grgic and then finished off the move with a calm, composed left-footed finish.

It wasn't just his role in both the goals but the way he played throughout the 90minutes. It was as if wherever the ball was Thapa was there. He had a significant role in defence too and made sure Northeast United didn't equalise or stage a comeback in the second half.

The future star of the Indian National team has shown what he is capable of today and the fans would want him to play like this every day.

Edited by Alan John

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