Truly a fairytale comeback for the two time champions, ‘ Chennaiyin FC‘ ,under their newly appointed coach Owen Coyle. The team that ended its season on the 4th spot being the least favorite has definitely added a benchmark for the history of comebacks in the Indian Super League. Lets take a lookback at their brilliant performance in the 6th edition of the Hero ISL.
CFC, the southern giants commenced their season with disappointing result as they lost to FC Goa by a scoreline of 0:3. With 6 games into the season CFC were struggling at the bottom of the table with just a single win, a couple of draws and 3 defeats. Things did not seem to in the right place as they conceded goals and scored just goals. The management sacked the then coach John Gregory.
On December 3, 2019, Owen Coyle was brought at the helm of the struggling Chennai side. First game into his new challenge, a bit of shuffle in the lineup, he managed to earn a point in the away encounter against Jamshedpur. Then Chennaiyin came back home to play the southern derby game against Kerala Blasters FC in their fortress the Marina Arena. Gaffer OC emerged out victorious with a stupendous margin of 3:1. The fans started feeling hopeful about their chances and OC made sure that he restores their faith in the team.
Game after game we could experience the newly instilled fighting spirit and the never let-go attitude of the CFC v2.0. The team looked as if they reincarnated and were willing to take up challenges and win them. Weeks passed by CFC came out like a force challenging the then top 4 favorites, Mumbai City FC. The evening of February 21 was crucial for both MCFC and CFC. Practically it was a do or die bout. Both the teams were stranded at the 4th and 5th spot respectively. The 83rd-minute winner by captain Lucian Goian ensured that Chennai breakthrough into the Playoff Spot.
With the 8 matches unbeaten streak, the Chennai-based club entered the semi-final to lock horns with the league shield winners – FC Goa. In their backyard, in front of their approximately 18 thousand home fans who were raring for yet another win, CFC got the better of FC Goa as they won the first leg with a huge margin of 4:1. With an aggregate score of 6:5, they entered into the finals with their chin-ups and eyes set on the bigger reward- The ISL Trophy.
Although their last game of the season did not go their way still Owen Coyle and Chennaiyin FC earned our respect and love for the beautiful saga they came up with this season.
- The foreigners under the previous coach felt a bit jaded but Owen Coyle played his tricks and they were as effective as a lethal weapon.
- The coach was able to identify the individual brilliance and we saw some new stars rise for CFC. For an instance: Valskis also won the Golden Boot.
- Team chemistry was visible as the whole squad gelled up to deliver results.
Some statistics of OC in the Chennaiyin outfit :
We would love to see more such heroics and we wish Owen Coyle and Chennaiyin FC, All the Best for the upcoming season!