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Home Sport ISL 7: Chennaiyin Face Old Guards' Challenge In Jamshedpur Colours

ISL 7: Chennaiyin Face Old Guards’ Challenge In Jamshedpur Colours

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Fatorda: Three of the last year’s Chennaiyin FC footballers — golden boot winner Nerijus Valskis, Owen Coyle and Mizo defender Laldinliana Renthlei — will don the Jamshedpur FC colours when the two teams will lock horns in the Indian Super League Season 7 at the Tilak Maidan Stadium here on Tuesday.

Coyle was the mastermind behind last season’s stunning recovery that saw Chennaiyin go from rock bottom to within a game of the ISL title.

No doubt, Coyle knows the players that he left behind really well, but the Scot doesn’t believe that’s an advantage. “Obviously, we know their strengths,” he said. “But I’ve always felt that when you come up against your old team, players who have played for you before, they want to show you they’re still the top players that you believed they were. So we’ll be very respectful of them,” he added.

The signing of Valskis will no doubt add teeth to Jamshedpur’s attack. But Coyle will be aware that more pressing problems lie elsewhere. Jamshedpur conceded 35 goals last season with only Hyderabad FC having a more porous defence. It remains to be seen whether the captures of former Sunderland defender Peter Hartley and Nigerian centre-back Stephen Eze will improve things in this regard.

For Chennaiyin, the biggest task will be to fill the gaps left behind by departing players. Of the foreign contingent from last season, only new captain Rafael Crivellaro and defender Eli Sabia remain. New coach Csaba Laszlo will hope that new recruits like Slovak forward Jakub Sylvestr and Bosnian defender Enes Sipovic can help fill these gaps. Jamshedpur fans will also find a familiar face in the Chennaiyin ranks — Brazilian defender Memo played for their side last season.

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