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Chennaiyin FC face FC Goa in early repeat of last year’s final



CHENNAI: Chennaiyin FC chief coach Marco Materazzi has challenged his team to show their love for the club and start winning, or risk not just missing out on a place in the Hero Indian Super League semi-finals but also his association with Chennai.

Materazzi, a World Cup winner with Italy, has been the chief coach of Chennaiyin FC since inception in 2014 and won the Hero ISL title last season. This year, though, Chennaiyin FC have just a point from two matches and Materazzi knows they need massive improvements against FC Goa at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai, on Thursday.

Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa contested a fiery final last season with Chennaiyin FC scoring twice at the fag end of the match to emerge 3-2 winners in dramatic fashion.

“If I had the chance to change all 11 players, possibly 12 if you can include me, I would have done that in the last game (against Delhi Dynamos). But the regulations say I can change only three. I have to put in the best eleven tomorrow,” said Materazzi, expressing his disappointment over the 1-3 loss against Delhi Dynamos which in his opinion was the worst in the three editions of ISL.

Asked whether last year’s hotly-contested final will have any bearing on tomorrow’s performances, Materazzi said, if he had lost the trophy how FC Goa did in the last couple of minutes, he would have plenty of reasons to be upset too.

“If I was leading till the 89th minute and lose at the end of the game, I would be upset as well. They will show the hunger to win but we are coming into this game after a loss against Delhi and will have to put in something extra as well. If we can manage that in the future, we will make it to the play-offs. If not, it will be bad for us. If things don’t turn out well, I will not be here as head coach for next year. You have to show your love for the club,” said Materazzi.

FC Goa remains the only team without a point at the end of the second round and chief coach Zico said his team was prepared to turn things around after consecutive losses against NorthEast United FC and FC Pune City.

“We are well prepared to look for a good result. We played well in the first two matches although we didn’t get a result. We are prepared for a nice match,” said Zico, adding that he does not look into the past for any added motivation.

“In the first two matches, we created so many opportunities. If you look at the stats, the two best players were the goalkeepers. We are playing an attacking game but unfortunately the goals are not coming. That confidence to score is missing,” said Zico.