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6-min read

ISL 2015: From rock bottom, how Chennaiyin FC made it to the final

Chennaiyin have won 8 matches from their 16 outings so far but the most important one awaits them on Sunday against Zico's FC Goa.

Abhishek Nandwani | IBNLive.comabhinandwani

Updated:December 19, 2015, 9:21 AM IST
ISL 2015: From rock bottom, how Chennaiyin FC made it to the final
Chennaiyin have won 8 matches from their 16 outings so far but the most important one awaits them on Sunday against Zico's FC Goa.

For the majority of this Indian Super League (ISL) season, Chennaiyin FC struggled to get going. They began their campaign in the worst possible manner losing back-to-back games and in the mid season there was a point where they tasted three consecutive defeats.

It looked as if they won't be able to make it to the semi-finals but Marco Marterazzi's men showed great character in the business end of the league stage and managed to make it to the semis.

In the semis, they faced defending champions Atletico de Kolkata and overcame that test with a 4-2 win on aggregate spread over the home and away leg.

Chennaiyin have won 8 matches from their 16 outings so far but the most important one awaits them on Sunday against Zico's FC Goa.

IBNLive looks back at Chennaiyin's journey in the second edition and recaps how they made it to the final.

Second leg in semis against Atletico de Kolkata: Despite losing 2-1 in the second leg of the semi-final, Chennaiyin FC managed to make it to the final thanks to their crushing win in the first leg. ATK scored in the 22nd minute and then made it 2-0 through Iain Hume with just three minutes on the clock. The three minutes left to be played and the additional time unfolded an exciting battle but Chennaiyin had the last laugh after Fikru Tefera pulled a goal back for the visitors in the 90th minute to put his former team out of the competition.

First leg in the semis against Atletico de Kolkata: A clinical performance from Chennaiyin FC saw them thrash defending champions Atletico de Kolkata 3-0. Bruno Pelissari, Jeje Lalpeklhua and goal-machine Stiven Mendoza were on target as ATK's defenders had a forgettable day in office. Chennaiyin also became the first team in the two editions of ISL to win five straight matches.

Win vs FC Pune sealed their semi-final spot: Chennaiyin only needed a draw in Pune to advance to the semis but they made sure they sealed the spot in style. Jeje Lalpekhlua's 64th-minute strike was enough to help them overcome the challenge. With that win they jumped to second on the ISL table with 22 points.

Cruised past Mumbai City: Chennaiyin notched up a superb 3-0 victory over Mumbai City to keep themselves afloat for a semi-final berth. Mendoza, Jeje and Bernard Mendy found the net to seal three points for the hosts. With rains lashing Chennai, both teams had to deal with the tricky conditions and the hosts did that fantastically well. With this win they also made sure that Mumbai City had no chance of making it to the play-offs.

Thrashed Delhi Dynamos at home: This was probably their best performance of the league stage. They swept aside Delhi challenge without any fuss. With this win, Chennaiyin jumped to the fourth spot. Mendoza, Bruno Pelissari and Jeje (twice) hit the back of the net to lead their team to a 4-0 win.

Thumping win over Kerala Blasters: Mendoza fired in his second hat-trick of the season as hosts Chennaiyin crushed Kerala Blasters 4-1. After Dhanachandra Singh opened the scoring in the 3rd minute, Mendoza scored in the 16th, 80th and 81st minute to ensure full points. In the process Mendoza became the highest scorer in the league. Antonio German pulled one back late into the match for Kerala but it turned out to be just a consolation.

Defeat at the hands of ATK: Chennaiyin scored the first goal but could not prevent Atletico de Kolkata to edge past them. At this stage of the league phase, very few put their money on Chennai as regards their semi-final chances. Chennayin were rooted to the bottom of the table with 10 points from as many matches after this loss.

Sorry performance against NorthEast United FC: A spirited NorthEast United rallied to edge past Chennaiyin FC 2-1 in a close contest. Elano opened the scoring in the match but Diomansy Kamara and Silas found the net later to help their team do the double over the team from South India.

Defeat at the hands of FC Goa: The home side looked completely off colour in defence and conceded two penalties which were successfully converted by Leo Moura and Jonatan Lucca. Harmanjyot Khabra was sent off in the 89th minute, the second time he was shown the red card in the league. The five-man FC Goa defence made it difficult for Chennaiyin FC to break them down, although Mendoza had good chances but nothing was converted.

Held by Kerala Blasters: Elano converted a penalty in the first half to put the visitors ahead before Chris Dagnall scored early into the second half to bring parity. Chennaiyin FC were lucky in this match as Kerala Blasters missed a crucial second-half penalty, else this could have been another defeat for the the finalists.

Solid win against FC Pune City: Bernard Mendy and Mendoza struck on either side of the break as Chennaiyin FC recorded their first win at home. It was Mendy who opened the scoring for the hosts with a header in the 33rd minute. Mendoza doubled the lead in the 48th. Kalu Uche reduced the margin for the visitors. This was first solid performance by Chennai in their own den.

Loss at the hands of NorthEast United FC: The match was heading for a draw when Simao Sabrosa and Nicolas Velez scored late into the game to take NEUFC to their first win of the season. The match, which saw one red and 10 yellow cards, witnessed many heated moments, with the players almost exchanging blows at times. Chennaiyin played with 10 men from the 40th minute onwards after Harmanjot Khabra was given a straight red card by the referee for violent conduct.

Convincing win against Mumbai City: Elano Blumer played a part in setting up two goals for Mendoza as Chennaiyin registered a solid win. In what was essentially a tight game at the start, Mumbai did well to cover their defence and allow limited space for Mendoza to operate but in the end Elano made the difference to the game with his brilliant assists.

Thumping win over FC Goa: Stiven Mendoza scored the first hat-trick of the tournament as Chennaiyin FC thrashed FC Goa 4-0. Chennaiyin, who had lost their earlier two matches, showed determination to win as they displayed an impressive attacking style of football to outplay FC Goa with Mendoza finding the back of the net thrice. Blumer got the other goal for the visiting side.

Beaten by Delhi Dynamos: Brilliant defensive performance from Roberto Carlos' men saw Delhi edge past Chennaiyin. Chennai conceded a controversial penalty in the 8th minute which saw them go down 1-0. However, Chennai looked a better side but Delhi defenders produced some fine skills to keep them away.

Losing the ISL opener: Chennaiyin started their campaign on a sorry note as they were beaten by the defending champions Atletico de Kolkata. Former Portugal striker Postiga showed his skills with two opportunistic strikes in the 13th and 70th minute while substitute Spanish striker Valdo also found his name on the scoresheet. For Chennaiyin FC, Jeje hit one in the 31st minute while their main player and skipper Blumer got one back converting a controversial penalty in the 89th minute.

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