The goal-scoring Chhangte we have always wanted


131st Durand Cup: Mumbai City FC are through to the final after winning over another gritty encounter. After a tough 90 minutes, it was once again Lallianzuala Chhangte who was clear towards the goal to notch it home. Instead, he squared it to Bipin Singh who made no mistake tapping it in. In the quarter final, Stewart scored a hat-trick while Chhangte scored a brace and assisted a couple of times.

(Upto Quarter-final)

These two individuals are currently the top two scorers of the 131st edition of Durand Cup – Stewart with 5 and Chhangte with 7. Greg has already stamped his authority with a Golden Ball, but the very welcome performance of Chhangte has once again sparked the Indian Football. This time, not just for running, but for converting those chances.

The CFG-owned club pushed for a Chhangte move last January. Possibilities of transfer fees were there but they got him the better way. A six-month loan and then a permanent deal on a free transfer. He was always going to be a starter on the right wing. He started six of the seven ISL games for his new club last season. In all of the games, except against East Bengal, he started as the Right Winger.

Last season was the first time he was more frequently seen cutting in to have a shooting opportunity with his favoured left. At Chennaiyin, he was mostly preferred to play at Left Wing but that wasn’t the case at all last time. When Bandovic went for the 3-5-2, he lined Chhangte upfront with an overseas forward. Things didn’t really went well for him as soon Bandovic made his mind to prefer both his overseas striker together.

Chhangte Durand Cup
Chhangte’s heatmap in ISL 21-22 [Sofascore]

Chhangte’s dip in form last season

However, his form last season took a serious hit. He scored only one goal in total which is his personal worst in the Super League (played three games or more). That came in the total of 1169 minutes he played in. Not only his goals, but he looked more hesitant in taking a shot. Which can be drawn by comparing his average shots taken per 90. His average of 1.4 p90 is the worst of all his campaigns in the league. To make it look more miserable, his goal conversion rate over the tournament was a meagre 4% – 2.5 times worse than his second worst (2017-18).

Chhangte doesn’t have a reputation to put it into the back of the net more often than not. As per the Away End, he registered a total of 6.27 xG but only managed to score four in ISL 20-21. In ISL 21-22, he made it one off 2.51 accumulated xG.

Hopefully a new breath

He played each minute of Mumbai City’s Champions League campaign where notched seven points to finish second in the group. City weren’t the more ball-keeping side against their opponents so that explains why the touchmaps of the winger were deeper. However, apart from the Right Winger, Chhangte was often deployed as the second striker or #10 behind the striker. Him, Bipin Singh and Vikram all featured together for a large chunk of minutes.

The club injected some massive names over the summer window and now they look jacked in the attack with the likes of Alberto Noguera, Jorge Pereyra Diaz and the Golden Ball winner Greg Stewart. They entered in the competition with a seriously strong looking squad with a bench strength to match.

Mumbai City FC topped it’s group in a three way affair. They were the highest scorers. Chhangte, with 5 goals, stirred clear of everyone in the highest scorer’s list. Including the semi-final, the team has scored a total of 19 goals, 10 of them had Chhangte directly involved in it. He is currently outscoring the likes of Roy Krishna and Sunil Chhetri combined. That gives an idea of how much of an X-factor he has been in this team. In fact, more than just an X-factor. His brewing chemistry with Greg Stewart only sends alarm to the defences the team’s going to face this season.

Chetan Anand
Chetan Anand
Radars Football, Cricket and Motorsports

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