Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle expressed optimism as they pulled off a late draw against East Bengal FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Saturday.

Having conceded an own goal through the feet of midfielder Ayush Adhikari in the 29th minute of the match, the Marina Machans excelled on different levels to pull off an equalizer in the 86th minute, courtesy of a Ninthoinganba Meetei goal, ending the match 1-1. Chennaiyin FC centre-back Ryan Edwards received his marching orders in the 96th minute after conceding his second yellow card of the night.

Pleased with his team’s performance to secure a draw from a losing position, Coyle feels that his lads did pretty well and should have scored more.

“Yeah, I think we finished with a point and I think given that late in the game
whenever it was, we rescued from about 1-0 position down but (it was) on the balance of the game.  We could have scored three, or four goals very easily. The goal we conceded was a catalogue of mistakes, truth be told, but it happened against the run of play. We also had some wonderful chances in the first half,” Coyle stated in the post-match press conference. 

Young forward Irfan Yadwad replaced the injured Jordan Murray at the beginning of the second half and put in a commendable shift. He got close to scoring opportunities on a couple of occasions but couldn't hold onto his nerves. Coyle praised the forward for the effort he put in during the second half.

“Irfan came in at half-time,
he did very well. I've got very high hopes for Irfan, there's a lot of bits I need to teach him because I played up there and know what's required but he's certainly got potential to be a very good player.”

The 57-year-old emphasized the positives from the night, especially the numerous chances they created despite the absence of their key players.

“I'm more happy to be creating chances than I'd be more worried if we weren't.
But what we've shown given that we had Aakash (Sangwan), Connor (Shields), and Rahim (Ali) all missing, the boys that stepped up, I was delighted with them,” he said.

Substitute Ninthoi kept his nerve and calmly placed it past the East Bengal FC keeper to draw the match level.

Coyle praised the winger for his picture-perfect goal, expressing satisfaction in instilling in his players the importance of accuracy over power when finding the back of the net.

“I was so pleased with Ninthoi’s goal because I spent all last week with a lot of them explaining that it's not about power. It's about accuracy," the head coach opined.

“I love when the young Indian players do well. I mean, Ninthoi, I remember back in season six, I remember seeing him, I think he was at NorthEast at the time. I thought, wow, I really like that kid. He's had some injury problems with me, but I'm convinced I can make him even better. So I'll keep working on that. And I hope he does well. I hope that we can keep improving him," he concluded.