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Chennaiyin ‘hand’ed a draw
Coyle pleased with the performance against Jamshedpur but disappointed with the result.
Chennaiyin FC manager Owen Coyle almost had a perfect start to his stint in India. Against a Jamshedpur FC team that was on a four-match unbeaten run at home, his side took a one-goal lead in the first half and kept the host at bay for most part of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2019-20 clash.
But CFC’s resistance was undone in the cruellest of ways. At the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur on Monday, former Chennaiyin employee Isaac Vanmalsawma nicked a contentious leveller for the home side in the 89th minute. The diminutive winger’s effort deflected in off Farukh Choudhary’s left arm, making it a case of so near yet so far for the visitor.
Despite protests from the away side, the referee allowed the goal to stand. Earlier, there was a ‘him and him again’ moment as Nerijus Valskis netted for a third fixture in a row. The Lithuanian striker gave CFC the lead with an immaculate finish in the 26th minute. Coyle, who led his troops from the touchline for the first time, was gutted with the result – a 1-1 stalemate.
“I am disappointed not to be sitting here with three points. We put enough into the game. We scored a marvellous goal and controlled the opening period. Having created two or three great opportunities, we could have added to the lead. The final pass is something we need to work on,” Coyle told reporters during the post-match presser.
Although Chennaiyin eventually settled for a solitary point, the Scot was pleased with the way it worked its socks off against a well-organised JFC outfit.
“Jamshedpur is a good side and we dealt with the pressure nicely. We looked like a team with quality, desire and spirit. If we keep delivering such performances, they will lead us to more wins than draws. I see a lot of good signs going forward,” said the gaffer.
CFC was forced to share the spoils as super substitute Isaac stole a point at the very end for the host. Aniket Jadhav, who came off the bench, outfoxed a couple of defenders before squaring the ball for Sumeet Passi.
The frontman set up Isaac whose left-footed strike hit Farukh’s hand on its way into the net.
While most of the Jamshedpur players ran close to the corner flag to celebrate the equaliser, Passi, stationed in the 18-yard box, was unsure of whether it would be ruled in. But the match official awarded the goal and the crowd went berserk.
Responding to a question on the chain of events, the 53-year-old felt a couple of points were taken out of Chennaiyin’s hands.
“There was a clear handball. One can argue whether it’s intentional or not. I certainly think he (Farukh) knew what he was doing. It should have been a free-kick for us. Look at the players’ reaction, they all knew it was a handball. The call obviously went against us. I know the referee’s job is tough but he should have spotted it. I could see it from my technical area,” Coyle vented his feelings.