KOLKATA: Two-time Indian Super League champion Chennaiyin FC will look to start the new season on a winning note when it takes on ATK Mohun Bagan at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Monday.
Speaking to the media ahead of the team’s opening fixture, head coach Thomas Brdaric said that his side will be seen playing an attractive brand of football.
“I like offensive football; I like to score goals. And that is what we want to implement in the game. You must be very prepared and attentive to understand and capitalise on the mistakes of your opponent. You have to use it to your advantage.”
Chennaiyin comes into the ISL following a good run in the Durand Cup, finishing as a quarterfinalist. Petar Sliskovic top-scored for the team, netting three, while skipper Anirudh Thapa was sensational, scoring two and assisting three, and holding together the midfield.
With a complete overhaul of its foreign contingent and a reinforced Indian contingent, the team will look to improve on its Durand Cup campaign and look to carry forward the momentum into the new season.
This year’s ISL also marks the return of the fans to the stadiums with the league returning to its traditional home and away format after two seasons inside a bio-secure bubble.
Brdaric’s men spent most of their pre-season in Kolkata, exploiting the conditions. Although this will help the team adapt quickly, the head coach is aware of the challenges clubs like ATK Mohun Bagan can pose at its home.
“Having pre-season here was an added advantage. Yes, the preparation was pretty long and it allowed us enough time. ATK (Mohun Bagan) is a huge club. To play the first game against them is something special,” the 47-year-old Brdaric said.
Besides Duker, Chennaiyin’s foreign line-up consists of defenders Vafa Hakhamaneshi and Fallou Diagne, midfielder Nasser El Khayati, and Sliskovic and Kwame Karikari upfront in the attack.
The team is all geared up and will look to go out all guns blazing to secure its first ISL win against last season’s semi-finalist, ATK Mohun Bagan. The Mariners have won two of their four meetings with Chennaiyin with two games ending in draws.
RESULT: Hyderabad 3 (Victor 45+4 -pen, 76; Narzary 51) drew with Mumbai City 3 (Chinglensana Singh 23-og, Stewart 67, Noguera 85)