Nepal: Chennaiyin FC have themselves to blame for the situation they are in right now. They failed to win the crunch games against Abahani Dhaka, losing out 3-2 and then scrapping through to a 1-1 draw against Minerva Punjab when they were expected to do so much more against their Indian opponents.
Their profligacy has put their fate out of their hands, with Chennaiyin FC needing a miracle from Minerva Punjab FC to qualify into the next round. In order to go through, Chennaiyin FC need Minerva Punjab to stop Abahani Dhaka from winning against them and have to ensure that they win against Manang Marshyangdi as a bare minimum.
Ahead of the crunch tie, Chennaiyin FC head coach John Gregory, who recently signed a contract extension to stay at a club for another season, faced the media to talk about the club, their AFC Cup campaign, their final game of the group stage and much more:
Mentality ahead of the game:
“Wednesday game is very important for us. We obviously have to win. Nothing less than a victory will be enough for us. So we just go into the game with our focus and our attention to try and get three points. We also have to hope that the other result goes our way.”
Playing on an artificial turf:
"Ever since I have been here, we have not played on an artificial surface pitch other than on a couple of training days at BFC. So it will be a new experience for many of our players. It's not an easy surface to play on.”
Pressure ahead of the game:
“We don't feel any more pressure than normal. Every game that we play is a pressurized game. Once you have to live up to a reputation, which we do - we have won the championship (ISL) twice - there's always pressure on us.
We're quite used to the pressure. We deal with it all the time so it just becomes a normal match for us, but there is obviously a lot at stake for us. Obviously, the qualification from the group stage will be very important for us. So we need to be at our best tomorrow."
On a long protracted season:
“With this game coming up now, I think everybody is looking forward to a break. Unfortunately, our international boys are not going to get a break and before we know where we are we are going to be starting the new season in the ISL. So we shall be very focused on this match. Everybody wants to finish on a high.
Of course, if we qualify to the next round, we will be literally back again in a few weeks getting ready for the knock-out stage. I hope that's the case."
Will Chennaiyin FC qualify from the group stage, or will they face more despair following a terrible title defense and Super Cup finals heart-break. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach us on instagram, twitter and facebook.