“It could be the most important point of our season” – Owen Coyle reflects on #CFCBFC goalless draw

Chennai, February 9, 2020: Chennaiyin FC Head Coach Owen Coyle was in a mixed mood as he addressed the media in his post-match press conference after the 0-0 draw against Bengaluru FC in the Hero Indian Super League.

Coyle was happy his team managed to take a point from the game, having not scored at the other end. “If you can’t win a game, then you must make sure you most certainly don’t lose the game. It was a hard-fought game. Both teams had a couple of chances to win the game. We had ours when (Andre) Schembri was through on goal, his effort cleared off the line. And then they had a very good chance (Haokip hitting the upright),” he said.

“I think it was a tremendous accolade that Bengaluru came here and sat everyone back, trying to make it difficult for us. A big mark of respect for how well we’ve been playing,” Coyle opined on the way the game played out.

Anirudh Thapa missed out due to suspension and Germanpreet Singh through injury, and Coyle felt that took a bit of the sting out of CFC’s attacking approach.

“We lost a bit of fluency in midfield with (Anirudh) Thapa suspended and Germanpreet (Singh) injured. It meant sacrificing Andre (Schembri) and bringing in Masih (Saighani). That being said, we were always in control of the match but being very guarded against the BFC counter-attack. I would say a draw is a fair result, but it could be the most important point of our season,” Coyle reflected.

The point still is a positive result for CFC, taking them to four points off Mumbai City FC with a game in hand. Moreover, Chennaiyin face off against MCFC in a six-pointer.

“We still have a real chance to make the playoffs. Our destiny is still in our own hands. Three tough away games on the road (ATK, MCFC & NorthEast United FC), which we’re looking forward to. We’ll have Thapa back and Germanpreet should be available too.”

Chennaiyin were down to ten men in the closing stages as Thoi Singh was rather harshly shown a second yellow for a debatable foul, and Coyle did comment on the incident.

“I’m really disappointed for Thoi tonight (for being sent off). He absolutely worked his socks off, gave everything. I think it (the sending off) was harshly dealt with. Also given a number of (BFC) players committing fouls after being on yellow cards, it was a bit harsh. And Thoi’s didn’t even look like a dangerous foul. We still did well with a man down, controlled the game for a few minutes.”

Elaborating further on the officiating in the match, Coyle said, “Both teams had contentious calls go against them in the match. But I do think Bengaluru don’t have too much to complain about, I could be wrong. I felt we could have had a penalty in the second half when Chhangte came into the box and (Albert) Serran seemed to have handled the ball. I need to see it back though. I’m also aggrieved about the red card handed out to Thoi. But I don’t want to get lost within the whole refereeing issue but through the course of the season some huge decisions have gone against us.”

To sum it up, Coyle concluded by saying, “It could still be a very, very important point. It keeps our unbeaten run going and takes us closer to where we want to be.”