Asianet NewsableAsianet Newsable

ISL 2023-24: Coyle delighted with Chennaiyin FC's comeback win over NorthEast United FC; WATCH highlights

Chennaiyin FC sent NorthEast United FC crashing out of the playoffs race with a 2-1 victory against the Highlanders at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 on Tuesday.

football ISL 2023-24: Coyle delighted with Chennaiyin FC's comeback win over NorthEast United FC; WATCH highlights snt
First Published Apr 10, 2024, 10:10 AM IST

Chennaiyin FC's head coach, Owen Coyle, expressed his elation following his team's comeback victory in the Indian Super League (ISL) against NorthEast United FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday.

In a crucial match for both teams vying to stay in the playoff race, both sides started positively, leading to an intense, back-and-forth first half with no goals scored.

The visitors surprised Chennaiyin FC's defense by taking the lead through Jithin MS in the 49th minute. Undeterred, Chennaiyin FC continued to fight hard, eventually equalizing through full-back Aakash Sangwan's remarkable Olympic goal from a set-piece.

Just when it seemed the match would end in a draw at the Marina Arena, another full-back, Ankit Mukherjee, fired a stunning goal from the edge of the box in injury time, securing a dramatic win for Chennaiyin FC. Coyle expressed his satisfaction with his team's second-half comeback and shared his insights from the match. With their third consecutive win, Chennaiyin FC climbed to sixth place in the standings.

“I knew it would be obviously a tough game. Both teams I knew would go all out to win the game. Both teams had some good chances, but we had some chances to get in front,” Coyle stated at the post-match press conference.

“Vishal (Kaith) had an unbelievable save from Jordan (Murray) in Kolkata. But that save tonight by Gurmeet Singh from Ryan Edwards in the first half with the header was probably one of the candidates for save of the season. So we certainly felt we should be in front, but we never. And then, we made a horrendous mistake (at the beginning of the second half), which can happen,” he added.

Both teams had their fair share of opportunities throughout the game. Chennaiyin FC managed to produce seven shots on target out of a total of 17 shots attempted, while the Highlanders took a total of 16 shots, with four of them finding the target.

“We were a threat all night with some wonderful chances. And then Irfan Yadwad should have had another goal for the header from three yards. But the keeper had some great saves for them. And again, they've hit the post as well through Tomi Juric. So the game was end-to-end. I think any neutral watching the game must have thought, wow, what a fantastic advert for the ISL and for Indian football. But I don't think over the piece anybody could deny that we were the better team and deserved to win,” Coyle continued further.

Full-back Mukherjee, who previously scored the opening goal in their memorable victory against Mohun Bagan Super Giant, once again demonstrated his skill by securing the decisive winning goal against NorthEast United FC.

Coyle lauded Mukherjee's performance and highlighted his significant contributions. Unfortunately, Mukherjee will be absent for the final game due to suspension. Following the match, Coyle revealed Mukherjee's personal challenges, including his father's illness, and praised his remarkable determination to play despite facing a family emergency.

“Obviously, I've probably picked up another couple of suspensions tonight. I think Ankit (Mukherjee) is now suspended. And just a note on Ankit, because obviously he popped up with the winning goal,” he said.

“But more than that, Ankit’s father has been really, really ill and has been taken to hospital. And I told him yesterday he didn't have to play this game. I mean, nobody loves football more than me. But families, which we love games and the fans are incredible. Families are more important. I mean, your father's seriously ill. But all credit to him. He said, 'No, coach, I want to play the game'.” Coyle shared.

Chennaiyin FC's triumph marks them as the first team in the ISL to secure three consecutive comeback victories, underlining their resilience and determination. With this momentum, they now need just a single point in their final match against FC Goa to cement their spot in the playoffs.

Interestingly, their qualification could be secured even earlier if East Bengal FC falter against Punjab FC on Wednesday, potentially paving the way for Chennaiyin FC to advance to the playoffs ahead of their final fixture.

“We need to go to Goa and get something from that game. But when we go there, we won't be going to sit back. We're going there to win because that's what I'm trying to build at this club, a winning mentality,” he commented.

Latest Videos
Follow Us:
Download App:
  • android
  • ios