Dheeraj Singh got the man of the match with some excellent saves against the Marina Machans.
Chennaiyin FC played out a goalless draw with neighbouring rivals Kerala Blasters FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Thursday. The hosts had a flurry of chances in the first-half but could not make it count. Kerala were quiet for majority of the match but did turn up during the final stages and nearly took all three points when Seiminlen Doungel struck the post in the last quarter.
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Watch: Chennaiyin 0-0 Kerala Blasters
At the post-match press conference, Chennaiyin head coach John Gregory lamented his side’s inability to convert their chances. “I feel pleased from a defensive point of view but it’s a game that you got to win, you got to win games like this. You dominated for such a long period of time when you get golden opportunities to score goals and win the match. I sometimes look at my boys and think do they understand how important it is when you’re given an opportunity to score at an empty goal just staring at you. It hurts me sometimes a lot more than some of our players,” he said.
The Englishman encouraged his players to take a leaf out of Bengaluru FC’s playbook by emulating the Blues’ ruthlessness in front of goal. “It was a game that we should have won. You know, when Bengaluru will get a chance, they get one chance, they’ll score. They take those chances. We should have done it at halftime and the game should have been over at 45 minutes. You can’t dominate a game in the manner that we did (and not win).”
Kerala Blasters’ head coach David James was of a different opinion. “I think there is a bit of ambivalence towards the result. When you lose three games in a row, you do not want to lose the fourth, that would have been terrible. We could have won the game. I think we were for once the stronger side towards the end. But we have never won here before. Dheeraj (Singh) was man of the match and deserved the reward for a great performance. But we were still a team that could have won it,” he opined.
James also shed light on his exclusion of Sandesh Jhingan from the starting line-up. “I felt that the way we were going to play, it suited the starting line-up. Because of the injury we were forced into making a change. When Sandesh Jhingan came on, he did what a good professional would do and that is he put in a great shift,” he remarked.