Gregory: Chennaiyin deserved win for second-half display

The Chennaiyin FC coach was proud of his team for its gritty comeback against Jamshedpur FC.

Mohammed Rafi grabbed the equaliser for the home side in the 89th minute.   -  R. Ragu

Substitute Mohammed Rafi emerged as the hero on the night for Chennaiyin FC as his late strike earned his side a valuable point in the 1-1 draw against Jamshedpur FC at the Marina Arena on Sunday.

Chennaiyin camped in the opposition territory for the majority of the second half and the relentless pressure brought the equaliser in the 89th minute.

"I am delighted with the point," coach John Gregory said at the end of the match. "We deserved all three points for second-half performance. Incredible effort from my team today. I am proud of my team. This was our fourth game in 12 days. We had to travel as well."

The home side was forced into making changes to its starting line-up with young midfielder Germanpeet Singh coming in for the suspended Dhanpal Ganesh. After a slow start, the former Minerva Punjab midfielder was at the heart of every Chennaiyin attack. "We kept and passed the ball well in the second half. The young boys didn't shy away. Some individual performances were colossal," noted Gregory.

The former Aston Villa coach felt his team could have nicked all three points from the match. "It was similar to the performance against ATK (2-1 win on January 25.). It was like a training session sometimes. If one or two balls had fallen kindly to us, we could have won the game," said Gregory.

Two lost points for Jamshedpur

Jamshedpur, currently two points behind Chennaiyin on 26, will count this as two points dropped in the race for a playoff spot. "We sustained a lot of pressure in the second half. We were not keeping the ball long enough but just defending hard. They showed resilience. The marking with the set-pieces was a bit ragged at the end with people coming in and going out. So it is tough to get messages across," explained coach Steve Coppell.

With Chennayin out of the way, the ISL newcomer will next host Bengaluru FC on Sunday. "It was a difficult place to come to so it's a valuable point. But the point helps Chennaiyin more than us," said Coppell.

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