Chennaiyin FC's hopes of regaining momentum in the 2020-21 season of the Indian Super League (ISL) suffered a major blow as they lost 0-1 to ATK Mohun Bagan on Thursday. David Williams scored the only goal of the match in the second half injury-time at the Fatorda Stadium in Margao.
Chennaiyin FC have managed to pick up just seven points from their last seven matches. A victory over ATK Mohun Bagan would have seen them go level on points with fourth-placed Hyderabad FC. But now, last season's finalists find themselves at sixth spot with 15 points from 13 matches.
Chennaiyin FC coach Csaba Laszlo was upset after losing to a late goal. His side controlled the proceedings in the final quarter and came close to equalizing through Enes Sipovic in the dying embers of the game. However, Tiri produced a fantastic goal-line clearance to keep the scoreline in favour of ATK Mohun Bagan.
"It is very upsetting because according to me, we played good football, especially in the last twenty minutes. We tried to control the game. I was even sure that if there will be a goal in the game, it will be us who will score. But, in just one minute, we lost everything. We destroyed ourselves. I must be punished. It would have been much better to avoid the corner. It's a very disappointed evening for everybody," Chennaiyin FC coach Csaba Laszlo said after the match.
Chennaiyin FC registered only one shot on target in the game and had less ball possession. The Marina Machans have been guilty of missing gilt-edged chances in the past, but against ATK Mohun Bagan, they failed to create any.
"ATK (Mohun Bagan) have a very good side. I don't want to blame our strikers. We had (Rahim) Ali, we had (Lallianzuala) Chhangte. (Anirudh) Thapa was not available today because of an injury. Rafael (Crivellaro) is out. We missed the creativity from midfield. Even Jakub Sylvestyr also tried. He had the possibility to shoot but he hesitated. We have chances and miss them, or we have only few opportunities. We don't look like scoring. It's hard but I think we could have taken a draw. But, it is painful to go without any points," Laszlo further added.
"Every single three points missed is a lost opportunity to be in the top four" - Chennaiyin FC coach Csaba Laszlo
This season, the fight for the playoff spots in the ISL is seeing stiff competition. Besides the top two sides - Mumbai City FC and ATK Mohun Bagan - only seven points separate third-placed FC Goa and SC East Bengal, who are 10th.
"Every single three points missed is a lost opportunity to be in the top four. In the last season, we played the final. At this stage, me and everybody want to be in the top four. But, we have to also be realistic. This is a different competition than last year. We have new players coming in. Some players are leaving also with injury. Every year, we want to be in the final. We don't give up. I hope we can do better in the upcoming games," Chennaiyin FC boss Csaba Laszlo added.
Chennaiyin FC will next face Mumbai City FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Monday. They lost 1-2 to the Islanders in the corresponding fixture.