Chennaiyin FC’s Owen Coyle was denied a win in his first Indian Super League game as manager after Jamshedpur FC scored a late equaliser against the two-time champions on Monday to keep their unbeaten run at home intact.

Nerijus Valskis opened the scoring for the visitors but Antonio Iriondo’s men found a way back in the 89th minute through Issac Vanmalsawma. However, the equaliser was a controversial one as Vanmalsawma’s shot struck Farukh Choudhary’s hand before deflecting into the back of the net.

Coyle didn’t blame the referees but said the decision to let Jamshedpur’s goal stand was cruel on his team.

“I think we handled the pressure well. Jamshedpur are a good side. The disappointment was that the points were taken off our hands. I think it was a clear hand ball. You can argue whether it was intentional or not, but regardless it was still a free kick. It was cruel on us,” Coyle said at the post-match press conference.

“We did put a lot in the game. I don’t want that getting lost in the controversy of the goal. I am pleased at the way we approached the match and if we keep playing like this, we will win more than we draw,” the former Burnley manager added.

With just one win from seven games, Chennaiyin are placed ninth in the standings with six points, one place above bottom-placed Hyderabad FC. Coyle, who took over from John Gregory believes the Marina Machans could still make it to the top four despite a tough start to their campaign.

“We have enough time to do it, to win matches and try to get ourselves up there. Will it be difficult? Of course. We are a club at the bottom half of the table. But I have seen good signs tonight and have the belief,” he said.

“There’s a lot of work to do. But top four is achievable. But to do that, we have to make sure when we get in positions, like we did today, we finish. That could have averted the pressure on our goal. We have to understand how to manage and win games. That needs a lot of thought and football intelligence. But I have a group who are willing to listen and that’s what I need to do,” he concluded.