Chennaiyin trapped into the Highlanders' Doun-gal: The Talking Points

Rohit Ganguly  |  Northeast United  |  1 Year Ago

The Highlanders made mince-meat of high-soaring Chennaiyin FC after they rode on Doungel's hat-trick to rub Chennai with a 3-1 drubbing. Doungel opened the scoring for the hosts just in the dying embers of the first-half after he curled the ball in with his left foot from close range, latching on to a rebound from a desperate save of Cezario's pile-driver by a desperate Karanjit.

Seconds within the outset of the second-half, Doungel doubled his tally after a blistering run past the back four of Chennai and he tucked the ball into the bottom left corner of the net. The move emanated from a peach of a long-ball from Jose Goncalves which found its way to Cezario and the latter teed up Doungel with a delectable defence-splitting through ball. In an essay to rally themselves back into the game, Chennai went for a belligerent approach and this led to their demise in the game. With no men to defend anything that came down from North-East, Chennai was pegged back by the third goal which witnessed Doungel's hat-trick.

Narzary revved past the Chennai rearguard and squared off Doungel for his third goal and the latter polished it off with a sweet side-footing sending it into the net leaving Karanjit stranded.
Chennai found their consolation goal after Anirudh Thapa fired home a screamer for the visitors in the 79th minute. Despite this goal, Chennai was still left to rue their missed opportunities and multiple questions were left to be answered by the Chennai rearguard.

We will now sneak a peek into the 5 points which impinged this lob-sided vie between two unevenly matched opponents.

Doungel knew the net too well

Seminglen Doungel was the man of the hour for the Highlanders as he rose to the occasion just when his team was in dire need of a messiah. After repeated fiascos from the likes of stalwarts like Marcinho, Danilo, and Narzary, the team needed someone to blow back life into their receding hopes of making to the top 4. It seemed tonight that Doungel was just the bloke for whom the team coveted dearly.

The diminutive winger came back from his marriage and started the game in place of Meitei and was an instant sensation for the home crowd. His first triumph came in the dying embers of the first-half after he curled a rebound home with his left foot. The move's provenance dated back to Cezario who managed to master a delectable long ball intended for the gargantuan Brazilian. After controlling the ball adeptly he unleashed a thunderous shot at Karanjit who dived to his left to thwart the coup but was hapless as Doungel was waiting with bated breath for a snippet of an opportunity and he pounced upon it with arms wide open and prodded the rebound home, imparting the lead to the hosts.

Just within seconds of the outset post the breather, Doungel notched himself up his brace after a blistering run past the back four of Chennai. 

Jose Goncalves laid the ball off long for a speeding Cezario who very reposedly released a defence-splitting pass. Doungel latched on to it as he accelerated with inexorable pace past the Chennai rearguard and tucked the ball low past a diving Karanjit.

Doungel polished off his hat-trick in style as this Indian U-23 starlet chipped the ball home past a diving Rinzuala only for the custodian to view the ball fly past him like the cream on the cake.

Any number of epithets shall be less enough, to sum up, this starlet's faring in today's match. He was correctly adjudged as the Man of the Match.

T.P. Rehenesh was once again the best promise for the Highlanders

The Kerala-custodian once again came to the deliverance of the hosts after his side snatched an emphatic victory over a dominant Chennai.

The score could have easily tipped in the visitor's favour if this bloke under the woodwork wouldn't have come to the deliverance of his side multiple times. 

Just as North-East was basking from the joys of a two-goal cushion, Chennai tried to sting them with a shocker and in an attempt to return to the game, Jerry whipped in a gem of a cross for Jeje. However, Jeje's emaciated header was collected well by Rehenesh to keep the visitors at bay. Minutes later, things again seemed bleak for the hosts as Mihelic curled in another peach of a cross for an advancing Jeje. However, Rehenesh buoyed by his current form rose higher than Jeje and punched the ball away from the Mizo sniper to safety.

Rehenesh finally bit the dust on the 79th minute of the game after Anirudh Thapa fired a screamer into the back of the net which flew past a flat-footed Rehenesh like a cannon-ball into the net.
Just in the dying embers of the regulation time, Rehenesh bailed his team out again ahead of an imminent attack as he rushed out of his line and made the perfect use of his aquiline reflexes to snatch the ball from an advancing Rafi. If Doungel led the charge from the front, Rehenesh was the spanner in the cream of Chennai from the back​.

Chennaiyin were nothing less than the prodigal son

While we were kids, we all read the fable of the prodigal son and Chennai seemed to be an even bigger prodigal son. After being the dominant force of the game, the team folded themselves into their integument just after conceding a lead. As the game started, Chennai thoroughly relished possession and spawned the maximum number of chances. Chennai started squandering opportunities right since the outset of the game as Nelson whipped in a stellar cross from the right after foxing the tardy defender in the wing and then his picture-perfect cross went begging as Jeje made a hash of opportunities at the end of the cross.

Calderon could have been on the score-sheet too only if he could have clung on to his calm. After taking Thoi and Sambinha head-on and trouncing them hands down, the Spanish right-back unleashed a meaty shot and that went wide off the far post. As Chennai were two goals down, Jerry flayed a lovely through-ball from the right and placed it right in the scouring head of Jeje whose feeble header went straight into the safe arms ​o​f Rehenesh. It seemed as if along with this plethora of opportunities, Chennai squandered away the match too.

Tactical analysis from Mark Lillis went abysmally wrong

A very renowned English maxim cites that "Attack is the best defence". Mark Lillis, the preceptor of Chennai wanted to manifest this maxim to its fullest potential. However, in reality, no matter how good of an attacker you are, if your defence isn't robust enough, no attack will wither the tempest that will blow the rearguard away. North-East was all about counter-attacks today. With Sereno and Jerry at the back, rest of the team went to attack all guns blazing. This definitely kept North-East on their toes but concurrently they glimpsed multiple defensive holes in the Chennai rearguard who were caught napping ​and the Highlanders were relentless enough to punish them mercilessly.

Alongside that Lillis countered North-East's speed with physical football from the Chennai lads. This can be one helluva ludicrous turkey you will ever face. Sereno seemed absolutely toothless in thwarting the efforts of the Highlanders as he was fouling his counterparts after failing to parallel them in speed. Dhanpal Ganesh went up for attacks every single time and failed miserably to return to cover his defensive onus.

Speed destroyed Chennai

It is said that a giant can crush someone smaller vis-a-vis him with consummate ease. However, a giant's ​death lies in his ability to move. This is exactly what unfolded for Chennai. Given the fact that they had well-built and sturdy defenders, Chennai was expected to keep the hosts at bay. However, Danilo and Marcinho foiled their plans as their relentless runs down the wings and in the center of the pitch left the visitors dazed and confused.

To add to Chennai's woes, Doungel started to make sudden outburst of runs right down the center of the pitch. This youngster's speed laced with the cunning of Holicharan Narzary made life hell for the Chennai rearguard. What seemed worse for the visitors was their questionable umbrage of attacking on all fronts with just one man in defence which led to the final goal of the night for North-East. Chennai never had a backup plan and Raphael Augusto's induction seemed to help the visitors minimally. Doungel was rightly adjudged as the man of the match.


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