Chennaiyin FC head coach Thomas Brdaric was delighted with a positive finish to the season as his side beat NorthEast United FC in a seven-goal thriller in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Chennai, on Friday.

Rahim Ali opened the scoring for the home side inside the opening three minutes of the match. The second half of the game saw six goals scored between both sides, but Marina Machans were the ones that ended up on the winning side as midfielder Sajal Bag scored the winner in the last minute of the game. The result ensured that Chennaiyin FC finished the season level on points with FC Goa and in eighth place in the Hero ISL standings.

Chennaiyin FC were among the sides fighting for a top-six spot in February, but a poor run of results saw them slip out of the playoff race. They finish the season in the eighth position, three points off sixth-placed Odisha FC. Despite a season full of ups and downs, Brdaric was optimistic despite how the season unfolded for them and was pleased with the character shown by his players throughout the season.

“The whole season has been full of ups and downs, it was a positive end, but unfortunately it is not enough to qualify for the playoffs. We deserved the points tonight, we dictated the game and created a lot of chances but also due to some mistakes on our end we finished the season three points short of the top six. The boys have shown fight, and I am very proud of them for it,” Brdaric said in the official post-match press conference.

Chennaiyin FC had the lead in the first half, but NorthEast United FC back in the second half with three goals before the home side scored an injury-time winner. It became a crazy high scoring game just like the reverse fixture, where the scores were identical. Eventually, the two-time Hero ISL champions delivered on the field and put on a fight that impressed Brdaric, which he considers a turning point in most of the games Chennaiyin FC have played this season.

“In professional football, we have to understand that when you are on the field, you must deliver. We have to protect the lead, defend well, and be active in the game. Luckily, we bounced back in the game, but it was not our objective to let the opponent score three goals after taking a 3-1 lead early on. That is why we have a lot to work on in the future. I hope the players learn from this season and prepare well with a proper mindset,” he said.

Brdaric overtook the Chennaiyin FC squad only in June 2022 and is keen on the project to build something special with the team. The CFC head coach demanded fans be patient and to stick together.

“We have to be patient and make smart decisions in the future about the players. Everybody will have the opportunity to prove themselves in the upcoming Hero Super Cup, and I want the fans to support them and stick together. Then we will decide which player will stay for the upcoming season with CFC,” he stated.

“I love being here and I want to create something special at CFC,” he added.