The Marina Machans are currently at bottom of the table, with eight points.
Chennaiyin FC registered their second win of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 season as they beat league-leaders Bengaluru FC 2-1 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Saturday. Jeje Lalpekhlua and Gregory Nelson scored two goals in the first half, while Sunil Chhetri pulled a goal back for the Blues in the second half.
Speaking about the winning performance on the night, Chennaiyin head coach John Gregory said, “We’ve played matches this season when we’ve been better than this. We’ve passed the ball better, we’ve kept the ball better, but the opposition had just one shot and scored. Winning is a habit. It’s something we had last year. We created a winning mentality, a winning habit. We lost four matches last year. This year, unfortunately, it has been the reverse. We go one goal down and you see many heads in the team drop. That in itself becomes a habit. But we never gave up.”
Gregory then went on to state that facing southern rivals Bengaluru seems to always spur the Chennaiyin players on. “Bengaluru FC tend to bring the best out of us. In the short time that we’ve been playing in the Hero ISL, we’ve always done well against them. I think generally they bring the best out of us. For me, this win doesn’t make up for the disappointment that we’ve had this season, but it’s enjoyable to win this fixture,” he said.
The veteran coach also reserved praise for new signing CK Vineeth, who he felt, did an outstanding job on the night. “Vineeth played well today. There was a slightly different role for him today. We’ve just been discussing his contribution. I think he enjoyed himself today. He enjoyed the match. He got in a good habit of working hard today, which was overlooked in the last six months in Kerala,” he said.
Bengaluru head coach Carles Cuadrat, on the other hand, refused to sound any alarm bells after the loss, considering Bengaluru went into the match having rested some key players like Dimas Delgado and Udanta Singh. “It’s clear that we have arrived at the point of the season where we have some privilege to make some rotations. To preserve some players. We are lucky in that respect. We have the points and the playoffs are not far away. We are preserving players like Dimas Delgado, who is important for us, like Udanta Singh, who is coming from the AFC Asian Cup competition. For us, it’s not dramatic to have lost here,” the Spaniard opined.
“Football is a question of dynamics and we have very good dynamics. You have to see how the game was. There were chances for Miku, Xisco Hernandez. What is clear is that we have been using one team. That team was giving us points. Now that we have points, we can rest some players. Now it’s a completely different team. I want to give rest to some of the players to keep them ready for the playoffs,” he added.