Breaking down Jeje Lalpekhlua’s stats in the Indian Super League.
Jeje Lalpekhlua is one of the leading strikers in Indian football. For all his contributions towards the Indian football, he is hailed as one of the best to have come through the national side for now. He is fondly called as “Mizo Snipper” by his fans.
Apart from his ability to find the back of the net, his positional play, hold-up capability and strengths are some of the strengths of the 28-year-old. He has scored 91 goals in 216 appearances for his club and 23 goals in 56 appearances for his club which is a pretty decent track record for any player. Currently, the striker is the quickest among every Indian to have scored the debut Indian Super League goal.
When Chennaiyin FC was incepted, there was no time for a pre-season camp and the club signed players in a hurry to be on time. However, they did not want to miss out on one of the young strikers in the Hero I-League Jeje Lalpekhlua who was struggling for the form by netting just one goal in 16 appearances for Mohun Bagan.
His first season with Chennaiyin FC was decent, scoring 4 goals and his side was on the cusp of reaching the finals, but Stephen Pearson goal at the end made sure that Kerala Blasters did not let their three-goal lead slip up which they carried it from the first leg.
Upon his fantastic debut season with the Blues, he was handed out a two-year contract from the club. He did not hesitate and put pen to paper by committing himself to the project under the former Chennaiyin manager Marco Materazzi.
In the second season with the club, he scored six goals from just 11 appearances, including one in the semifinals against Pune City. His partnership with Stiven Mendoza has been lauded and it was one of the reasons for the Championship victory that term following an uneasy start.
The Blues and Jeje did have a decent start to the season, but they crumbled from the midseason to finish seventh which is their record low finish in all these years. The striker also did not enjoy a particularly good season by finding the back of the net only thrice.
Due to this poor season, Chennaiyin decided to part way with the title-winning manager Marco Materazzi. John Gregory was the next man at the helm, and he is a huge fan of Jeje Lalpekhlua who even compared his traits to Alan Shearer’s before the start of the season.
He started to score goals for fun during the start of the season, but he struggled to find his feet in the middle. John Gregory was quick to rubbish reports that he would be dropped soon or rather than later in the press conference. The Indian striker responded in style by scoring a goal against FC Goa in the semifinals to take the Blues to the finals.
They beat Bengaluru FC at their own patch to lift the trophy for the second time in club’s history. It has not gone according to the script for Jeje and Chennaiyin this season. He is yet to break the deadlock despite featuring 11 times this term.
Despite struggling to find the back of the net, he has the trust of John Gregory who would hope for a change in the adventure as Chennaiyin will be taking part in the AFC Cup.