Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle was disheartened to witness his side suffer a 2-1 defeat to FC Goa in Knockout 2 of the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Saturday.

Although both teams displayed a competitive match, it was the home team that took an early lead, with Noah Sadaoui scoring with a left-footed strike. Brandon Fernandes extended their lead 45 minutes into the match with a spectacular goal from long range. The Marina Machans quickly responded just before halftime, as Chennaiyin FC defender Lazar Cirkovic capitalized on Dheeraj Singh’s error to bring his team back into the game.

Despite their efforts, the score remained the same until the final whistle, with FC Goa securing their spot in the semi-finals against Mumbai City FC with a 2-1 win.

The head coach felt that his players gave their utmost effort, as he shared his thoughts after the match.

I thought the boys were excellent. Boys worked their socks off,” stated Coyle in the post-match press conference.

Analyzing the match, he continued, “Obviously, Brandon (Fernandes) scored a wonderful goal, as we see here, an unbelievable second goal. But it was avoidable. We made a mistake as we did in the first one.”

Chennaiyin FC attempted eight shots compared to FC Goa’s 10 shots while retaining 45.1% possession.

Happy with the way his team fought, and full of praise for Sadaoui, the Scottish tactician shared, "We battled to the very end against a very good side, always mindful of their dangerous counter-attacks, especially with Noah (Sadaoui). I mean, I think he's probably one of the best players in the league. Always a threat, that boy.” 

The Marina Machans will now look to build on the positives of this season and carry them forward into the next, aiming to inject more energy and quality.

With an optimistic approach towards the upcoming season, he added, “But no, the effort was there. The hard work, the organization, the shape — what we probably need to add for next year moving forward is that little bit of quality. And if we do, we're going to be a far better team, which we will be anyway because of what we're putting in place for next season. We're going to be far better than what we've been this season."

The 57-year-old concluded the press conference by expressing his disappointment about their failure to at least push the game into extra time, which he believes would have been fair.

"I thought in the second half we obviously pushed for it, tried to get the equalizer. FC Goa is always going to be dangerous, but we put an awful lot into the game against a very good side. So yeah, I thought extra time would have been fair, but that's the nature of football. It can be very cruel,” Coyle signed off.