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ISL 2019-20: 'Tough to sit here after witnessing such a dominant game and coming away with nothing' - Chennaiyin coach John Gregory after loss to ATK

Modified 21 Dec 2019, 00:53 IST

The result leaves Chennaiyin goalless and winless after three matches. (Credits: )
The result leaves Chennaiyin goalless and winless after three matches. (Credits: ISL)

Chennaiyin FC's goal drought extended to a third straight game and ATK took full advantage as they snatched a 1-0 win away in Chennai in the Indian Super League on Wednesday.

The result leaves Chennaiyin goalless and winless after three matches with just 1 point to their name. Much like their game against Mumbai City FC on Sunday, Chennaiyin once again created a whole host of chances, but failed to convert even a single one.

The hosts once again started brightly with Nerijus Valskis going close with a powerful header as early as the third minute. Valskis' big chance came in the 9th minute when Rafael Crivellaro broke into space on the left flank and slid in a low pass to the Lithuanian, but his toe poke went just wide.

Even after conceding the goal early in the second half, Chennaiyin spent most of it camped in ATK's half as they tried to find that elusive first goal. In the 60th minute a brilliant shot from Edwin Vanspaul went just wide of the top left corner. Defender Eli Sabia saw a good chance go wide off a header in the 71st minute.

And the best chance of the game fell to substitute Andre Schembri in the 72nd minute as he was sent through on goal by Anirudh Thapa's through ball, but the Maltese forward sent the ball agonizingly wide. In the 74th minute, a quick ball whipped in from Crivellaro deflected off ATK defender Agustin Iniguez and almost went in for an Own Goal, but was kept out by their keeper Arindam Bhattacharja.

Chennaiyin coach John Gregory was rather despondent after the game as he reflected on his side's failure to come away with a win.

"We dominated this game from start to finish. The second half was one-way traffic. We should have won comfortably, but we here we are with 1 point from our 2 home games," said Gregory. "I can't fault the attitude of the players, they gave it their all till the final whistle."

But he also believed that it was up to his team to convert the opportunities when they come their way to avoid such results.

"We have ourselves to blame. This is a relatively new team, but we have done a great job of getting into really good positions to score. But some poor decision making in the final third has been costing us. Even today in the second half, I thought we would definitely get the breakthrough, but it just didn't come."

Lallianzuala Chhangte had another bright game, but was often guilty of taking the wrong option once inside the opposition box.

"He's a guy who gives 100% effort. His final ball could be better; his decision making HAS to be better. So there are those things we'd like to get him to improve," said Gregory about his Mizo winger. "But among all our players, he's probably the guy who covers the most distance on the pitch. He gives everything."

The coach admitted that it would take some time for the team to recover from this setback despite the many positives.

"Huge amount of pluses with every passing game, but it doesn't change the result and it hurts. Tough to sit here after witnessing a game that we dominated, but have nothing to show for."

Edwin Vanspaul echoed his coach's sentiments saying,

"Everybody is bitterly disappointed that after creating so many chances and having so many opportunities we are yet to score that first goal. Even the crowd was with us throughout the second half, cheering us on, but we couldn't get that breakthrough."
"We will look back at the chances and see where we can improve. That's all we can do, get back in the practice sessions and focus on our play," he added.

Edwin and Soosairaj both played for Chennai City early in their career with the latter now into his second ISL season while the former ended up winning the I-League last year with Chennai City.

Asked about going up against his former teammate, he said, "It was a great moment to play against him. We have grown up together. Very happy for him as well that he's playing in the ISL. This was the first time I've faced him as an opponent; he knows my game, I know his, and I think we managed to contain him quite well today."

He is also confident that that first goal could serve a the breakthrough for his side to get going in this year's competition.

"We just need that first goal to fall. I think that will settle the team down and we can build from there," added the local boy.

Published 31 Oct 2019, 02:05 IST
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