Chennai City came from behind to secure a point against bottom club Churchill Brothers on Tuesday night at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium…
Charles de Souza scored his third goal of the season to cancel out Brandon Fernandes’ second-half goal as Chennai remain seventh, two points above Minerva Punjab, Mumbai and Churchill Brothers. Speaking after the final whistle, Chennai coach Soundararajan singled out his team’s attack for their failure to win the third consecutive home game.
He said: “Our midfield was not up to the mark. Compared to our opponents, we were weaker in the attacking third also. Edwin [Sydney Vanspaul] squandered three chances. Had he scored, we might have secured all three points.”
Asked about Michael Regin’s underwhelming performance, the Madurai-born coach said, “He’s not played good so far. He’s such a good player though he has been struggling for form. His first game can be considered a failure, and the second was not great either. His dribbling ability is interesting, but we have not witnessed anything great so far.”
Soundararajan, as promised, named an unchanged starting eleven from the previous game; however, his midfield underperformed as they struggled to play through the centre in addition to sending in poor crosses. He promised to bring Prasanth Karuthadathkuni, Karanjit Singh and Darren Caldeira into the fold for their next game against Shillong Lajong on Sunday night; he also hinted at a change in formation.
Reflecting on the controversial refereeing decisions – Fernandes’ 22nd-minute goal was deemed offside – Churchill Brothers manager Alfred Fernandes said, “Every match, something unfortunate happens to my team. It’s not fair on my part to complain though some calls, I believe, were unfair. I’ve to accept the referee’s decision now. In my first glance, I thought the first offside goal should have stood. However, upon having a word with the linesman, I realised my player was in an offside position.”
The Goans created numerous chances, but Ansumana Kromah, Bektur Talgat, Anthony Wolfe and Chesterpoul Lyngdoh failed to convert those. The coach sounded disappointed when he answered questions regarding his strikers’ poor form in front of the goal.
“Our finishing leaves a lot to be desired although we have been working on that during our training sessions. Sometimes, it does not work out on the pitch. At the end of the day, it’s all about scoring. We missed a couple of opportunities today also. We have been creating numerous chances, but our conversion rate remains poor. My strikers need to up their game,” said the Red Machines coach.
Despite finishing the first leg of I-League at the rock bottom of the table, Churchill Brothers can leapfrog Chennai City in the event of claiming inconsistent Minerva Punjab’s scalp at Fatorda Stadium on Sunday night. Chennai, on the other hand, have fared decently for a team who are embarking on their first I-League season as they sit seventh.