ISL 2018-19: Steve Coppell pleased with the 3 points after win against Chennaiyin
Steve Coppell's ATK side emerged 3-2 winners after an exciting game of football against defending champions Chennaiyin FC in Chennai on Sunday in the Indian Super League (ISL). The win consigned Chennaiyin to their seventh loss of the season while ATK picked up their fourth win of the campaign.
Usually known for keeping it tight, ATK found themselves involved in a rather open, free-flowing contest. Jayesh Rane opened the scoring with a spectacular long-range effort from just outside the box before Manuel Lanzarote scored a penalty in each half to put the visitors well ahead at 3-1. Chennaiyin did pull one back late, but it proved to be a mere consolation.
Coppell after the game was happy with the 3 points but did not like the way his side finished the game.
"After we scored the goal to go 3-1 up, we should have seen the game out quietly. The mistake which gave them the second goal also created the atmosphere. It transformed what had been a flat period of football," said Coppell.
"We had to hang in there with some terrific headers under a lot of pressure. Andre (Bikey) especially. He almost redeemed himself. It is a pleasing three points.
"They needed the three points. We knew they would be pushing us. Just well pleased with the three points really."
ATK came into this game on the back of 2 consecutive clean sheets. But they couldn't quite muster one tonight. However, they broke their 2-game scoring drought netting thrice, twice from the penalty spot.
Against what we have normally come to expect from ATK the first half here proved very open indeed, a tactic Coppell was quick to admit could have backfired.
"We started really well. If anything, we made the game too open. It was almost end-to-end at certain stages. That’s not playing to our strengths. We were a little bit cavalier," said Coppell.
While Lanzarote and Rane will hog the headlines for their goals, Hitesh Kumar down the left flank was also full of running and the coach felt he had an excellent game.
"Hitesh Sharma was certainly terrific. He has been patient for his chance. He was good with his runs while bringing the ball in and out of the defence. Even skill wise, he was very technical," added Coppell.
With the win, ATK are now up to 5th in the table with 15 points to their name, level with Jamshedpur, but lower due to goal difference.
ATK will next face NorthEast United on Saturday, 8 December.