Owen Coyle: Belief and trust we have in each other will be key against Goa

Chennaiyin FC scored late to rescue a point against NorthEast United FC in their Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 clash at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Tuesday. Chennaiyin took the lead courtesy Masih Saighani but were pegged back by a Martin Chaves brace, while being reduced to 10 men after Tondonba Singh’s red card. Super sub Lallianzuala Chhangte equalized in added time to ensure the Super Machans don’t go into the semi-finals on the back of a loss.

At the post-match press conference, Chennaiyin head coach Owen Coyle analysed the contest and said, “(Masih) Saighani’s goal was a wonderful goal to go in front. We were on top initially. 1-0 felt very comfortable. The penalty decision was a turning point. Fighting with ten men was a challenge but I don’t think Karanjit (Singh) had much to save. A draw is probably fair.”

Coyle then went on to praise Chaves’ brilliant second goal but was equally appreciative of his team’s fighting spirit. “I have to say as the opponent head coach, Martin Chaves scored a wonderful goal tonight. But with the spirit that we have at the club, we were never out of the game. We made some substitutions and pushed people forward via Chhangte and I feel we fully deserved the second goal. It was terrific to see this mentality,” he said.

“We have a very strong mentality. Although we were behind and went down to ten men, we knew we could get something from the game. We committed more players forward. I will prefer drawing 2-2 if it also means losing 3-1 in the process,” he added.

The result meant Chennaiyin finish fourth in the table and will face table toppers FC Goa in the semi-finals. On their opponents, Coyle noted, “Goa are a great side. They are number one for a reason. But we have also been in great form. We have played under pressure. The most important thing was to arrive when we did. The belief and trust we have in each other will be needed against FC Goa. They are a very good and compact side. We saw their performance where we gifted them a three-goal lead. We are looking forward to standing toe-to-toe against the very best.”

Read the Match Report here.

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