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Chennaiyin FC vs ATK Mohun Bagan: Preview, H2H as CFC Captain Anirudh Thapa eyes to capitalize on home matches

Chennaiyin FC ISL

Chennaiyin FC skipper Anirudh Thapa on Friday expressed the team's desire to claim full points in their remaining four home games in the quest to secure a playoff berth in the Hero Indian Super League 2022-23.

Currently placed eighth on the standings with 16 points, Chennaiyin are just four points behind sixth-placed FC Goa.

The team will be playing four of their remaining seven matches in front of the home fans, with the first one scheduled on Saturday against ATK Mohun Bagan at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai.

"It's important to be in the Top-6. I think those [four matches at home] will be crucial because if we grab all the points at home, then it will be a plus point for us. Playing away against Goa and Bengaluru will be difficult because they are also in the race, and they won't let it go," the team skipper Anirudh Thapa told the media during the pre-match press conference.

Chennaiyin have dominated their opponents in their recent games, including draws against Jamshedpur and Hyderabad in their last two matches, but haven't managed to pocket all three points. With the focus on the next game, Thapa said his side will look to score more and defend better rather than just playing well or keeping the ball.

The star of the season Abdenasser El Khayati, who has seven goals to his name from as many matches, has returned from the injury earlier this week, but head coach Thomas Brdaric informed that the Dutchman will require more time to regain match fitness. He further heaped praises on Thapa, saying the 25-year-old Indian could play El Khayati's role.

Anirudh Thapa

"We have to look for some replacement for him [El Khayati], and one player who can replace him in another position is Anirudh Thapa. He is a box-to-box player with other abilities like Nasser and has almost played a little more above his position," Brdaric said.

Adding to the coach, Thapa reflected on his new role and says he is learning his trade in the new role as a more advanced playmaker.

"I'm learning a lot about how to handle that position and how I can help the team. I feel I can deliver more in terms of goals and assists. Hopefully, I will prove myself in the coming matches," he concluded.

Meanwhile, fourth-placed ATK Mohun Bagan have traveled to Chennai on the back of a loss against Mumbai City at home. Although Chennaiyin beat Mariners in their first meeting of the season, Brdaric feels Juan Ferrando's men will pose a challenge for the home team.

After being on the road for three consecutive Hero ISL games, Chennaiyin FC will return to the Marina Arena for their next clash. The Marina Machans are winless in their last four games after drawing three and losing one. Additionally, Thomas Brdaric's side have been lacking at home this season, winning just one out of six games in their own backyard.

"I'm not happy with the results [in the last few games]. Some people appreciate our game and style, but it's not enough for me. I'm here to fight for titles," Brdaric said.

Chennaiyin vs ATK Mohunbagan H2H Record:

The teams have faced each other 5 times in the past. Chennaiyin have 1 win while the Kolkata giants have registered 2 wins, with 2 matches ending in a stalemate.

Chennaiyin vs ATK Mohun Bagan Current Positions:

The home side are 8th in the ISL table with 16 points and will be hoping to close the gap between them and the playoff numbers. ATK, on the other hand, are sitting 4th with 23 points and will be eyeing to overtake Kerala Blasters and go a place better in the league table. The visitors are without an away win in two matches, and will be aiming to end that run in Chennai.

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Story first published: Friday, January 20, 2023, 18:29 [IST]
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