Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], January 28 (ANI): Bengaluru FC head coach Simon Grayson was full of praise for forward Sivasakthi Narayanan after the youngster netted a brace in Bengaluru FC's 3-1 win against Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League (ISL), at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Saturday.
Like the previous games, Bengaluru FC were solid in the defence and penetrated the opposition with quick counterattacks. One such move led to the opening goal from Sivasakthi Narayanan. The defensive lapses of Chennaiyin FC didn't help them as Narayanan netted the second and Rohit Kumar extended the lead to 3-0 by capitalising on those mistakes.
The win sees Bengaluru FC jump to the sixth spot in the table, level on points with Odisha FC, who sit one placed below them and have a game in hand. Grayson was delighted with Narayanan, as the forward bagged his fourth goal of the season. The 21-year-old has a goal contribution in each of Bengaluru FC's previous four wins and is currently the joint-leading goalscorer for the Blues alongside Javier Hernandez.
"Siva (Narayanan) as you always know that, he's a goal scorer. He is quick and works extremely hard. He got left out of the team, but he came back with real freshness and spark. He is calm in front of the goal. (Many players) would be feared by that one-on-one situation, but not him. He got into that position and slotted it away like, it was Sunil Chhetri in his prime. He has a lot to learn. He has a long way to go, but he has a great attitude and composure in front of the goal and he is a real good kid and I love working with him," Grayson said in the post-match press conference as quoted by an ISL press release.
Bengaluru FC have now won four straight matches after just three wins from their first 12 games. Grayson was elated with his team's performance against Chennaiyin FC and felt his attackers were ruthless in converting their chances.
"In the first half, we were very good. Our possession, our shape was really good. We nullified anything, they were looking to ask questions of us, we stood well, we defended well and in the midfield, the shape was very good. We all knew that we would get chances. We have got two of the strikers who are magnificent to run into the gaps and they are really ruthless," Grayson said.
Chennaiyin FC made triple substitutions in the second half, bringing on Edwin Vanspaul, Kwame Karikari and Gurmukh Singh. It soon paid dividends with Vanspaul scoring his first ISL goal. Chennaiyin FC pushed bodies forward and continued to create chances, but could not capitalise on them. Grayson credited his players for their resilience in defending despite CFC throwing the kitchen sink.
"With 3-0, Chennaiyin FC had nothing to lose, they (brought) two big strikers and put plenty of balls over there and asked questions and the goal gave them the big lift, But then we did look a little bit disorganized, went to a back four and we were making wrong decisions. We were (giving away) possession but fair play to the boys, they kept going and put the bodies on the line," he said.
With this win, Bengaluru FC have reignited their playoffs hopes. The Blues play three of their four remaining matches at home. Grayson expects his team to build on this momentum, but cautioned that they have to concentrate on their away game against ATK Mohun Bagan first.
"Now we can build off what we've done in the last four games, the atmosphere tonight was great. We all knew that if we gave ourselves a chance in the early part of this season, we got three massive games coming at the end of the season and I'm sure this place will be rocking in a few weeks' time. But we have to go to Kolkata and we'll get the results there first," he concluded. (ANI)