Following a period of minimal confrontation, two-time title-winner Chennaiyin and its eternal enemy Kerala will reignite their fierce rivalry in an ISL 2020-21 fixture at the GMC Stadium in Goa – the ‘home’ of the Marina Machans – on Sunday.
And, CFC head coach Csaba Laszlo is clued up on the history of the big-ticket contest, despite no prior involvement in it. “It is not just another game. It is a derby,” 56-year-old Laszlo said in a virtual press meet on the eve of the much-anticipated match.
“Although the fans won’t be there on the stands, the derby feeling will remain on the pitch. In games like these, we will have to control ourselves on occasions. But, we will continue to do what we have been doing. We will enjoy our football and implement our style of play. Hopefully, we get the win,” added the Chennaiyin manager.
CFC made a blistering start to ISL Season 7, defeating Jamshedpur FC (JFC) 2-1 in its opener at the Tilak Maidan in Goa on Tuesday. Captain Rafael Crivellaro, new recruit Esmael ‘Isma’ Goncalves, Lallianzuala Chhangte and Anirudh Thapa could once again be the positive points of difference against a low-on-confidence Kerala.
Gunning for a second straight win in his debut ISL spell, Laszlo stressed that he wants his team to deliver another dominant performance. “It will be important for us to show the desire. We will try to control the game. Let us see how the boys react.”
Unlike Chennaiyin that has three points from its only game so far, Kibu Vicuna-coached Kerala is yet to post its first victory. In its opening two matches, KBFC lost 0-1 to ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) and drew 2-2 with NorthEast United FC (NEUFC) in a four-goal thriller.
While Kerala – with just a solitary point – is struggling to get going, Laszlo emphasised that CFC is set for a test on the matchday. “KBFC is a good team and its manager is spending his second year in India. He knows Indian football well, but is new to the team,” said Laszlo. The Chennaiyin boss also confirmed that there are no injury concerns in the ‘home’ camp.