Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle lauded his side after they registered a hard-fought win over Kerala Blasters FC to get back to winning ways in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Friday.

Aakash Sangwan’s goal proved to be the difference between the two sides as Chennaiyin FC continued their unbeaten run against the Blasters at home. The home team not only dominated ball possession, but created more chances and registered more attempts at goal compared to their opponents.  

Chennaiyin FC recorded their fourth win of the season which propelled them to the eighth position in the standings. Coyle’s side also put an end to their three-game losing streak in the league with this result. 

The veteran head coach was pleased with what he saw from his team and stated that the three points were throughly deserved. 

“We were outstanding tonight, from the first whistle to the last,” Coyle said in the post-match press conference.

“Tonight was going to be difficult because we had a very, very good opponent. Kerala Blasters FC is a wonderful team. They are not one of the big spenders in the league. Ivan (Vukomanovic) does a remarkable job. He’s a proper football man, but also a really good man. They had injuries and they brought young players in. I know how difficult it was going to be (for them). But we fully deserved the three points. From the first whistle to the last, we were the best team. And then we find ourselves down to 10 men. We had to show a different side to us. So it was important to get the clean sheet. Because we know we can create chances and score.” 

While Chennaiyin FC broke the deadlock in the second half, they continued created plenty more gilt-edged opportunities after the break. However, Kerala Blasters FC goalkeeper Kamaljit Singh, who replaced the injured Sachin Suresh in the first half, pulled a bunch of fine saves to keep his side’s deficit down to one goal. Coyle believed his side could have added to their tally but was happy for the three points. 

“Aakash (Sangwan) scored a wonderful goal. We did have some other chances as well. Rahim (Ali) did brilliantly (well) to get through (the opposition defence) on a couple of occasions but he worked so hard and it was nice to play an Indian as a No 9. The three points were massive. It puts us right back in the mix for the top six, which I told you, we’ll give ourselves a fighting chance. But the big thing is we’re building as we have to do,” he further said. 

Returning back to their home turf, Chennaiyin FC gave their fans something to celebrate with an impressive win. They will be hoping to repeat more of the season with five of their remaining eight league games set to be played at home. Coyle was impressed with both the home and away fans, but especially praised the Chennaiyin FC fans for getting behind the team.  

“The fans were outstanding. Kerala Blasters FC come with huge supporters as they always do. All credit to them. Their fans, home or away, are outstanding. But our fans were outstanding from the first whistle to the last. (There were present in) all sides of the stadium. Got behind the team particularly when we were down to 10 men with Kerala (Blasters FC) bringing the pressure. Don't think there’d been any saves actually but they did bring the pressure. They put a couple of good balls in and we had to deal with that, stand up and counter. So overall, all in all, a very good night’s work. We’ll enjoy it tonight and tomorrow, let’s get focused and get ready for Mumbai (City FC) at home because that becomes another big, big game,” he revealed.