We have given away two points, says frustrated Gregory after draw

Chennai: Odisha FC fought back from behind to hold hosts Chennaiyin FC to a thrilling 2-2 draw here, Thursday.

After registering their first victory against Hyderabad FC in the last game, a rejuvenated Chennaiyin FC came into this game with confidence on their side, while Odisha FC came into the game after failing to score in the last two matches.

The first half-totally belonged to the visitors as they had several opportunities to score but couldn’t find the back of the net. The home side barely found any opportunities as they spent much on keeping the opposition at bay for much of the first half.

In the second half, Chennaiyin made a change by bringing in Germanpreet Singh for Saighani and it worked as CFC managed to change the tide. Six minutes into the second half, the home side surged into the lead as Thoi managed to get the ball from Thapa and squared it for Valskis, who converted with ease. However, within three minutes, Xisco managed to score from a deflection off the keeper Vishal Kaith.

In the 71st minute, Valskis once again took the lead by scoring a header from a corner kick. But Chennaiyin once again failed on to hold the lead as Martin Perez Guedes touched a pass to Santana who scored the equaliser in the 82nd minute.

Speaking after the match, a disappointed Chennaiyin FC coach John Gregory said, “We definitely lost two points from the game. Two points are given away to be precise. It was a really tough game, very emotional and very tiring. Obviously the last 10 minutes in the rain was even tougher on some of my team. We weren’t very good in the first half as Odisha was a better team in the first half. They kept the ball very well but we showed a lot of grit and determination and the goals are flowing in now.”

He also praised Germanpreet for putting up a good show in the second half coming in as a substitute. “I made a tactical switch bringing in Germanpreet who got into the game straight away and covered a lot of ground. Unfortunately, he got a yellow card in his first tackle which meant he had to be careful with the rest of the game. I was concerned but he played very well and gave us a good tempo. I thought we were lethargic in the first half and that got better when German came on and gave us a bit more balance in the central midfield ane we really got back into the game.”

He also took a dig at the scheduling of the matches as he pointed out that they play nearly four matches this season within a three-day break. “I always try to defend my players but we played a game three days ago and we are expected to play again within a three-day gap. Our next match is on 9 December and then we have another game on the 12th, which is three days later so the ISL really needs to take a good look at themselves. Some of the scheduling for some of the teams is embarrassing but we need to get on with it. We play at least four matches this season within a three-day break. We have to feel that we don’t get favours like some of the other clubs seems to benefit from.”

Josep Gambou. Odisha FC coach said, “Disappointed with the result. We were fighting very well. We played well in the first half and created chances but we didn’t score. But the second half was very different. We made one mistake in the midfield and gave away a goal. The team however kept composure and scored again. A mistake cost us the game disappointed as we should have scored goals in the first half.”

Aaditya Anand M