Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle expressed disappointment with the result as his team fell to East Bengal FC with a 1-0 scoreline in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Monday.

In a hard-fought battle, the Marina Machans suffered a defeat on the road. The intense competitiveness persisted between both teams throughout the game. However, the turning point occurred in the 65th minute when Nandhakumar Sekar's tightly angled shot deflected off Chennaiyin FC defender Bikash Yumnam and found its way past the goalkeeper. This crucial goal secured the lead for the Red and Gold Brigade, ultimately concluding the match with a 1-0 victory for East Bengal FC.

During the 90 minutes, the Marina Machans took 14 shots compared to East Bengal FC’s six shots and yet failed to find the back of the net. The head coach expressed disappointment with the result and feels the scoreline does not reflect how his team actually performed.

Obviously, I think what you've got to do is analyse the whole game, and there's no doubt that we should not be leaving here having lost the game. We were excellent tonight,” stated Coyle at the post-match press conference.

Lamenting the missed opportunities, he added, “We came to a magnificent stadium and a real footballing city, against a very prestigious and big club, and we totally dominated the game. We were outstanding, given even the injuries we had. But what you've got to do when you're in top-end games, you have to take your chances, you have to get in front. And, we didn't do that with some wonderful opportunities.”

Having participated in 16 matches this season, Sekar secured his fifth goal in a stroke of luck. The goal came from a deflection off his shot. Prior to that moment, the hosts had effectively thwarted East Bengal FC's attacking efforts, showcasing a solid defensive performance.

Sharing his thoughts on the goal that cost his team all three points, the Scottish tactician said, “We made an error from the corner. And I think it was Nandha, he set his shot. And sometimes when you're not carrying that lock back lock that you need, it's deflected off Bikash and over Debjit (Majumder) because Debjit had it covered. So a little bit, obviously the deflection, and a little bit of luck for Nanda (led to the goal).”

Motivated to move on from the loss, and directing his focus to the upcoming matches, he said, “We'll lick our wounds, pick ourselves up and get ready to go again.”

Coyle has consistently demonstrated confidence in forward Rahim Ali, making him the only head coach in the ongoing season to field an Indian player as the primary center forward. However, Ali has only managed to secure a solitary goal and an assist in his 10 appearances.

Justifying his decision to continue with Ali, Coyle explained, “With these young kids, we don't want to be critical of them. We want to build them up and give them a chance because that will be the future of Indian football moving forward.”

Elucidating his confidence in the young talents, the 57-year-old shared, “Certainly moving into even for next season, I have a number of talented young players lined up. So, we still have an opportunity even this season, still to make the top six. But I can assure you, next season Chennaiyin FC is going to be a very, very good team.”