Anirudh Thapa became Chennaiyin FC's highest appearance-maker in all competitions when he took the field against Odisha FC on Sunday. The highly-rated midfielder overtook Jeje Lalpekhlua to make a record 77th appearance for the two-time ISL champions.
Thapa had joined Chennaiyin FC as an 18-year-old in 2016 and is plying his trade for a fifth straight year for the Marina Machans.
The 22-year-old also made history earlier this season by scoring Chennaiyin FC's fastest goal in the ISL. Thapa netted for CFC in 52 seconds in their season-opener against Jamshedpur FC and became the ongoing edition's first Indian goalscorer.
Anirudh Thapa's rapid rise
The young starlet has established himself as one of India's best midfielders in the past two years, having been a regular starter for Chennaiyin FC and the national team. His tireless work-rate and eye for key passes make him a valuable asset.
Anirudh Thapa was one of the standout performers in Chennaiyin FC's runner-up-finish last season and made six assists. He was a part of Chennaiyin FC's ISL 2017/18 winning squad and has been adjudged AIFF's Emerging Footballer Of The Year twice.
The AIFF Elite Academy graduate already has earned 24 caps for the Indian national team and has scored two goals, creating a further two. His rapid rise to the top was rewarded with a contract extension by Chennaiyin FC during the pre-season.
He has two goals to his name from eight games in this ISL season. Thapa hasn't been able to play all of Chennaiyin FC's matches so far as he suffered an ankle injury earlier in the season. But he has recovered now.
The Marina Machans have had a disappointing start to the season, having won just two games out of their ten outings. They will look up to their young star to deliver as the league enters the second half of the season.