The team's journey in the league has been similar to the fortunes of its home city, Chennai, which witnessed rain and major floods during the same period. It was hard for the players to focus on their games when their own city was in turmoil. But just like the people of Chennai who stood shoulder-to-shoulder and helped each other in tough times, Chennaiyin FC put up spirited performances to win the coveted title.
The League Journey
Chennaiyin FC's ride in the league phase was not the smoothest. They were erratic, brilliant one day and poor the next; they were even placed bottom of the league at one time. But they brought their A game into play and won important matches that powered them into the semifinals. In a must-win game against FC Pune City, the Super Machas put up a good show, winning the game 1-0 and made it to the top four.
Play for Chennai
The floods were causing havoc during this time in Chennai, so much so that the home leg of Chennaiyin's semi-final clash against defending champions Atletico de Kolkata had to be played in Pune. The team entered the ground wearing T-shirts in support of the flood-affected and put up an inspired performance to win the first leg 3-0, a margin which Kolkata failed to overturn despite a spirited performance, allowing Materazzi's side to enter the final.
The New Kings
The all-important final lived up to the expectations as the crowd in Fatorda witnessed some amazing football from both teams. In a thrilling encounter which changed momentum every now and then, Chennaiyin FC’s last minute-goal, courtesy top scorer Stiven Mendoza, sealed the deal for them. The win provided some respite for the people of Chennai who couldn’t cheer for their team from the Marina Arena and could now manage a flicker of a smile.
Kudos to Chennaiites
In a warm gesture, the team owners dedicated the ISL trophy to the spirit of Chennai. This was an emotional moment for the players as well who had worked very hard in the league stage and never looked back as they entered the knockout stages.
With the Chennai Super Kings suspended from the IPL for two years, it appears Chennai has something to look forward to in sports as their team is now the winner of ISL and could potentially do wonders for development of football in the State.