Andre Schembri’s decision to move to India to play for Chennaiyin FC seems to have paid off as the Maltese striker is set to play in the finals of the Indian Super League in just his first season.
The Chennaiyin side booked a spot in the final after beating FC Goa 6-5 on aggregate despite Goa winning 4-2 on the second leg of the semi-finals.
Schembri was part of the Chennaiyin starting formation but was replaced after an hour as coach Owen Coyle looked to bolster his team’s defense following a two-goal deficit.
However, Schembri’s performance of the night was not a true reflection of the positive impact the Maltese striker has had on the Chenniyian side…
With five goals and three assists, Schembri has contributed immensely to CFC’s revival.
“Andre’s impact on the team has been fantastic. We’re a far better team when he plays. It was evident when we missed him against Bengaluru FC at home and Mumbai City FC away. He’s such a clever footballer. He sacrifices some of his own play for the team and that is a huge quality to have as a professional. He’s held in high esteem by his peers, foreign and Indian. He’s a shining example every day in the training ground and he deserves all the success that comes his way,” said Coyle during a semi-final press conference.
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Schembri’s life-changing decision to move to India so late in his career came as a surprise to many, who believed that the Maltese striker would come back home to see the end of his career.
But it appears that the 33-year-old has quite a bit of gas left in the tank and has proven to be a crucial piece of Chennaiyin’s FC campaign to the Indian Super League final.
Chennaiyin will face ATK in the final on March 14th at the Fatorda Stadium in Marago where Schembri is expected to be part of the starting line up.