Kerala Blasters and Chennaiyin FC, two giants of the Indian Super League are an hour away from locking horns in a crucial match tonight. Such matches require big hearts who can live up to the challenge and produce a moment or two of brilliance which can turn the course of the game. We have selected five such names who we think will play a crucial role in this match.
1. Anirudh Thapa:
The 22 year old is a priceless talent for Chennaiyin FC who burst on the scene with Chennaiyin FC in 2017-18 season, from then he became an unavoidable first team player for both Chennaiyin FC as well as the Indian national team. CFC’s head coach Csaba Laszlo named him as the vice-captain of the team which shows the youngster is a born leader and a keystone around which CFC team is built.
He proved Csaba’s decision right by netting the sesaon’s first indian goal in just 52 seconds to the game with his 1st touch. Thapa had a brillant 2019-’20 sesaon where he made 20 appearances in which he netted 1 goal and created 6 goals.
The dynamic midfielder is looking to take off from the start he got to become the best midfielder of the season.
2. Rafael Crivellaro :
Chennaiyin FC’s fan favorite the Brazilian playmaker Rafael is second in our list. Arguably one of the best midfielders from the last season, Chennaiyin FC will be hoping for his form to continue this season too.
His contribution to Chennaiyin FC last season was incredible as he netted 7 goals and registering 8 assists and turned the season upside down for his team.
His ability to create chances from 50-50 situations for his attacking partners helped the club gain a massive momentum to strike forward.
3. Gary Hooper :
Sooper hooper as the Kerala Blasters fans would like to call him.
The former Scottish League champion may have not started the season well but he kept it rolling with the penalty he scored against the NorthEast United FC in the second match where KBFC drew it square.
The Tottenham Hotspurs academy graduate flourished when he joined Scunthorpe United in 2008, where he helped the team gain promotion to the Championship with 24 goals in 47 matches which made the Scottish giants Celtic attracted towards him and he went on to win the league twice in three seasons for them .
Hooper spent his Last season in A–League where he scored eight goals in 21 appearances for Wellington. The 32 year old will surely look to continue his goal scoring habit which will make him the talisman for Kerala Blasters.
4. Sahal Abdul Samad :
The highly talented Kerala Blasters midfielder has been on this list several times before. There are no questions about his talent and the way his attracts the Kerala crowd, it’s high time the Indian international should lace up to prove his fans right.
Sahal Abdul Samad will be hoping to get going under his new coach Kibu Vicuna. Kerala Blasters lost their season opener against the mighty ATK Mohun Bagan where Samad had two major chances which he failed to convert. The footballer from Kannur will certainly take this opportunity to prove his worth and would hopefully keep flourishing this season to keep his fans happy.
5. Lallianzuala Chhangte :
The Mizoram born winger had a breakthrough season last time with Chennaiyin FC where the young winger scored 7 goals and was crucial for his team where they had a roller-coaster ride.
The silky winger burst on to the Indian football scene with a wonderful long ranger against Nepal in the 2015 SAFF Cup which made him the second youngest goal scorer ever for the Blue Tigers which eventually generated a lot of interest in the winger.
He had his trails with the Norway club Viking FK but the club opted not to sign him and he decided to pen his contract with Chennaiyin FC which indeed helped him become one of the best Indian forwards currently.
He was the highest scoring Indian from open play last season. Chhangte will surely be looking forward to this season as a way of cementing his position in the national team.