EIGHTH POSITION this season and in their debut season, is where Chennai City FC finished on the league points table. Position being the same, points too was not drastically different. This season CCFC finished with 19 points, two more from last season.
The team from Tamil Nadu, much announced being one for the state, promising to raise local talents to new heights. Entering I-League through the corporate entry route last season, enjoyed decent success when one of their players, Nandhakumar, was loaned and later signed by ISL team, Delhi Dynamos FC.
This year, after outstanding performances by midfielder Michael Soosairaj, entered into an agreement with ISL team Jamshedpur FC. With three goals to his name, Soosairaj finished as the top Indian goal scorer in the team.
The team retained a few players from last season and built the team on these core Indians including Dharmaraj Ravanan, Edwin Vanspaul and Soosairaj. CCFC Coach Soundarajan, experimented with a few formations in the season. And shifted the keys players around to extract the potential of his team. Vanspaul played move between left back and defensive midfield positions. Soosairaj placed himself at left, central and right positions in midfield enjoying floating between flanks making him tougher to mark. Chennai City opted for a foreign goalkeeper, one of the two I-League teams to do so. Poljanec kept five clean sheets in 13 games.
Chennai’s campaign had poor start, being humbled 3-0 by the Indian Arrows, playing their first ever I-League match. Tamil Nadu’s only representation had to wait till their fifth game to bag all three points in a game. After the home loss against East Bengal, came probably Chennai’s biggest win. Away at Mohun Bagan, CCFC faced a daunting task. It was a lively game from the start. Chennai took the lead through Joachim before the clock 7 minutes. With continued attacks, Chennai forced Bagan on the back foot but a mistake by Mohanraj led him to receive a straight red card as he handled the ball heading goalwards. Bagan drew level with the penalty resulting from the red card. Chennai had to play with a man less for about an hour still left in the game. In the last 20 minutes, Chennai showed belief and got the winning goal. The win had bigger after-effects; Sanjoy Sen stepped down as Bagan head coach.
Chennai City had a revival of sorts and from that game on, the team lost just three times, winning twice and drew six times. The last game of the season was beating the eventual champions Minerva Punjab FC.
Even after having a rocky start, the team with their core Indians managed to steady the ship and got it sailing smoothly to end the season strongly, even though the relegation threat was looming till the last game.