Chennaiyin stars share their happiness after title triumph

Chennaiyin FC became the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 champions by edging Bengaluru FC 3-2 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday. Sunil Chhetri opened the scoring while Miku scored in added time, but Mailson Alves’ brace and Raphael Augusto’s strike took the game away from the Blues. After the final whistle of the season’s last and most important match, caught up with a number of jubilant Chennaiyin players for their views on the champions.

Club captain Henrique Sereno won the Hero ISL title in back-to-back seasons after winning it with ATK in 2016. He shared, “It feels great. It’s the second time for me and the feeling is great. I cannot describe in words, but I am very happy. Not just for me but all my partners. They were amazing this entire season and I think we deserved it. Bengaluru is the best team but, we showed that in a football game, anything can happen. This shows we deserved to win.”

Chennaiyin’s Spanish defender Inigo Calderon has been in glistening form throughout and ended the season as the fittest player in the league, an amazing achievement if one takes into account the fact that he is 36-years-old. Speaking on the win, he said, “I had to wait 36 years to win something, so it was worth it. I think we deserved it. They held the game initially and we conceded a goal, but we came back. They played very well too. I don’t think it was a comfortable win. We worked really, really hard this entire season, so I think, we are really, really proud. Not sure how we are going to celebrate but it would be a big party for sure.”

Hero of the Match Alves, who gifted Chennaiyin an invaluable lead in the final was ecstatic to pick up two trophies with the same club. “I am very happy. Chennaiyin are strong. Chennaiyin are the stronger team. I have two trophies in Chennaiyin. C’mon Chennaiyin!” he stated. “Even front-man Jeje Lalpekhlua summed his emotions in a single line, “Feels amazing. It’s the best feeling in the world.”

Custodian Karanjit Singh has been a rock in Chennaiyin’s famed defence this season and again made some sensational saves against Bengaluru to keep his team’s lead intact. When asked how it felt to be termed as former champions, he said, “Feeling great because this the greatest target every team has. We are very happy, we won the game as Bengaluru in a good team and they were playing at home. But at the end of the day, we all saw who are the champion. We are!”

Anirudh Thapa, Chennaiyin’s young sensation felt like he was at the top of the world and also highlighted the fans’ contribution. “First of all, I want to thank the fans who came to Bengaluru and supported us. It was a very difficult match for us. Thank you all, thank you so much. It’s a great feeling as it was away from home, in Bengaluru’s home. It’s like a dream come true and I’m on the top of the world,” he gushed.

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