An all-round team effort saw Chennaiyin dominate Jamshedpur and put themselves within touching distance of the fourth spot…

High-intensity, attack-minded football has been a feature of Chennaiyin FC‘s recent resurgence under manager Owen Coyle. It was again there for all to see in a dominating 4-1 win on Thursday over Jamshedpur FC.

It was the third win on the bounce for Chennaiyin FC, something they have not managed since 2017. Also the last time Chennaiyin scored four goals in a game was back in November 2018 in a 4-2 win over FC Pune City. Some 24 league games have passed since.

After not scoring for the first four games of the ongoing season, they scored 20 in the next nine – a tally bettered only by FC Goa and ATK, remarkably. 16 of those came in the seven games Coyle has been in charge. In many ways, Coyle has given Chennaiyin’s football an identity, something it lacked during the shambles of last season

“We had to find a way to try to get the players score goals. We had scored just four goals in six games when I came in. Draws would not help us and we had to win games. We looked at personnel and we looked at training. And they were very receptive to what we were saying,” Coyle told Goal before the Jamshedpur match.

“All my teams have played attacking football. I went to Bolton Wanderers and they had that stigma of being a long ball team. I changed that stigma. I like my teams to play pass and move. I’ve always had flair players. I encourage my full-backs and midfielders to venture forward. I always pride myself on being attack-minded and I won’t change it,” he stated with a sense of pride.

Coyle has been true to his word, judging by how Chennaiyin have been playing. They don’t weave elaborate passing sequences like teams that play possession-based football. Instead, Chennaiyin are a bit more direct. They pass and move the ball quite quickly. The intelligent movement of their front four is key to that. Their build-up play features quick balls to release the wingers and through balls in between the opposition defenders, with Rafael Crivellaro orchestrating them.

Jamshedpur’s defence, without Tiri, just could not cope with the movement and passing of the Chennaiyin attack. Narender Gahlot and Memo struggled to keep track of Nerijus Valskis and Andre Schembri’s movement throughout the game. Rafael Crivellaro was also given all the space he wants, with the Brazilian running free throughout the night.

Jamshedpur, opting to go for a bold 4-4-2 which featured David Grande and Sergio Castel in attack, lost the initiative in midfield in the first half. Amarjit Singh and Aitor Monroy struggled to gain control against Anirudh Thapa, Edwin Vanspaul and Rafael. By the time Antonio Iriondo rectified the mistake at half-time by taking Grande off for CK Vineeth, pushing Noe Acosta into the midfield, they were already two goals down.

Chennaiyin Jamshedpur CFCJFC

While the first goal was thanks to a brilliant pass down the channel for Valskis who finished with aplomb, the second goal was a training ground corner routine which Schembri headed in.

By the time Jamshedpur changed to a 4-3-3, Chennaiyin were in a position to pick and choose their moments to go forward. And when they did, they were devastating. Even though Sergio Castel helped the visitors get a goal back, their advantage was immediately restored, thanks to Thapa’s pass between the channels that sent Valskis through. Chhangte’s fourth was just the icing on the cake.

“For us, the best transfer this season was probably the manager (Coyle) and the new management. They brought more passion, competence and commitment into the team and for me, that is the formula any team needs to be successful. You can see the difference now,” said Schembri when Goal caught up with him after the match.

The difference is there to be seen and it has propelled Chennaiyin FC firmly into the top-four race now. However, the margin for error is extremely low for them and they will need to win the majority of the remaining games.

Jamshedpur FC, on the hand, have seen their hopes take a beating. They will now need a miraculous run of results to grab that fourth spot.

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