ANI Photo | Chennaiyin to begin Kalinga Super Cup against Punjab with eye on AFC Champions League 2 spot

Chennaiyin FC will be looking to earn a spot in the 2024-25 AFC Champions League 2 Group stages as they begin their Kalinga Super Cup 2024 campaign against Punjab FC at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha on Thursday.
The winner of the Kalinga Super Cup will not only add a trophy to their cabinet but will also get a spot in the 2024-25 AFC Champions League 2 Group stages.
Chennaiyin are present in Group C of the tournament alongside Mumbai City FC and Gokulam Kerala FC, in addition to Punjab FC and head coach Owen Coyle is set to lead the team to a successful campaign.
“We are looking forward to the Super Cup as it’s a great competition and obviously, we’re in a tough group with two fierce rivals from the ISL in Punjab and Mumbai. The team is certainly capable of performing far better than it has done recently, so, we’re excited for it and there should be a freshness about us in the tournament,” commented Coyle ahead of the match.
The Marina Machans finished the previous edition of the tournament in the group stages and will look to improve their performance to win the trophy this year with the likes of Rafael Crivellaro, Jordan Murray and Ninthoinganba Meetei in their ranks. Crivellaro (5) has given the most assists in the ongoing season of the Indian Super League, while the addition of Mobashir Rahman on loan has also increased the options for the Scotsman.
“Of course, I’d like to win the tournament. We’ve always been known for fighting out for competitions and we want to do the same. We certainly believe that we are capable of a big second half of the season and it starts with the Super Cup as we want to go and give a really good account of ourselves. You want to win every competition and if you don’t think you can win it, you shouldn’t enter the tournament. I believe if we’re at our best, we can stand toe to toe with the teams in this competition,” the head coach said.
Chennaiyin will step onto the field after a break as they are playing their first match in 2024 and Coyle asserted that a break is always helpful for the players to regain their fitness and strength.
“The break is good as it gives us the match fitness and the sharpness and a really tough competition because of the quality of the teams we play. It will stand us in good stead for when we come back to play in ISL,” he said.
Chennaiyin and Punjab share a closely contested head-to-head record in the two matches played between them so far, with each team winning one game.
The Marina Machans will face Gokulam Kerala FC on January 16 before taking on Mumbai City FC in their last Group C match on January 21.

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