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ISL 2019-20: John Gregory feels his side 'need to shut the door once ahead' after draw against Odisha

Modified 21 Dec 2019, 01:11 IST

Nerijus Valskis (right) scored both of Chennaiyin
Nerijus Valskis (right) scored both of Chennaiyin's goals

Chennaiyin FC failed to make it two wins on the bounce as they played out a 2-2 draw with Odisha FC in Chennai on Thursday evening in the Indian Super League.

Twice Chennaiyin took the lead and twice they were pegged back. After taking the lead in the 51st minute, they allowed Odisha to hit back just a minute later. After another goal in the 71st minute, they conceded a second equalizer in the final 10 minutes.

Both goals for Chennaiyin were scored by their Lithuanian forward Nerijus Valskis.

"Definitely 2 points given away. We got four points from these two home games, but we could’ve gone to seventh spot if we had hung on for the win", said Chennaiyin coach John Gregory after the game.

Odisha dominated the first half and looked all over Chennaiyin, but couldn't find a breakthrough. Afghan Masih Saighani in the defensive midfield role for Chennaiyin looked completely out of sorts, forcing Gregory into a half-time sub, bringing on Germanpreet Singh, a move that changed the game.

"I made a tactical switch at half-time. Germanpreet got on and got stuck into the game. He gave us a little bit more tempo. We were lethargic in the first half. Lot of our players looked a bit one-paced in the first half. But it got better when Germanpreet came on. He gave us some balance in midfield." 

The finishing and final ball in the box is still one area though where Gregory feels his side could improve.

"A lot of good passes for the goals. But it was frustrating to see us get into good positions and then fail to convert chances. It is also frustrating to see players, who I know can do better, waste chances after working so hard to get into good goal-scoring positions. We need to be critical about ourselves in that area." 

For the second game running, Chennaiyin allowed their opponents to concede almost immediately after scoring themselves. Odisha made it 1-1 just 3 minutes after Chennaiyin's opener.


The trend was not lost on Gregory who said, "There was some poor defending from us and we gave away cheap goals. It’s a mental thing (conceding goals immediately after scoring). Once you score you have to switch on and get the ball back."

"We are a victim of our own circumstances. Sometimes we need to be more defensive and aware of the danger. We were punished for being a bit too lax today. We didn’t close down space during the move for Odisha’s second goal." 

"We need to shut the door once we are ahead. On the positive side, Nerka (Valskis) seems to be up and running and scoring for fun."

Chennaiyin now have almost two weeks before they next play, away at Jamshedpur FC on December 9.

Published 29 Nov 2019, 02:47 IST
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