ISL- Indian Super League

This was a very different NorthEast United: Des Buckingham

Atawaris WarsiAtawaris Warsi
September 24 2023

Des Buckingham heaped praise for his star striker Jorge Pereyra Diaz.

Mumbai City FC opened their ISL 2023-24 season with a win over NorthEast United. Des Buckingham and his team showed excellent attacking prowess against the Highlanders, defeating them with a scoreline of 2-1.

The ISL Shield winners from last year have put their best foot forward in the current ISL season. Jorge Pereyra Diaz scored a brace, which allowed the Islanders to cruise past their opponents today. However, it wasn’t just individual brilliance that secured the victory for Mumbai, but rather a united team effort that saw them clinch their first win of the campaign.

Here’s what Head Coach Des Buckingham has to say regarding this victory:

Thoughts on the game

Even after suffering defeat at the hands of Nassaji Mazandaran in last week’s AFC Champions League match, head coach Des Buckingham was not fazed by the criticisms his team received. Buckingham believed that his team would put their best foot forward against NorthEast United, and indeed, they did.

Buckingham addressed, “I think when we look back on this game later on in this season, we will realise how important those three points are. I think coming here, the first game of the season, it’s a lot of travel for us. Well, this was a very different NorthEast, they were very strong. From what I have seen on the pitch, we (Mumbai City FC) had to do a lot to come away with the result. I am extremely happy.”

A different NorthEast United

Last season when the Islanders faced NorthEast United, it was a pretty one-sided affair for Mumbai City FC as they hammered the Highlanders 4-0 and 3-1 at home and away, respectively. Whereas, today’s match was a pretty tight contest for the Islanders as far as the scoreline was concerned.

“I think it’s very different. The coach comes with a very experienced guy. He has been around a lot. The project that seems to be going on here now, changes not just to the coach but to the playing group. The involvement of domestic players, it is a hotbed of young Indian football. It’s a wonderful mix,” Buckingham highlighted.

Consecutive away games

Des Buckingham’s team has been travelling for quite some time. Even though they welcomed Nassaji at home, the match was held in Pune and not in Mumbai. 

The coach addressed the tiredness his team faces and how they will try to cope up with it to secure a win against Odisha. He mentioned, “We are looking forward to it. These are two tougher away trips. Especially to get to Odisha, there’s no direct flight. We have to travel down early and certainly get a positive result. They have a very good side with a lot of familiar faces and a pretty good coach. It’s now just to get fit and fresh before the games.”

Controversial Decision

There was a controversial moment in the match where Jorge Pereyra Diaz was tackled down in the box. The tactician said, “Some decisions that went against us, not just us, but against NorthEast as well. Towards the end especially, there’s a penalty on Diaz where he is pulled to the floor, which for me looked very clear.”

An excellent performance by Jorge Pereyra Diaz

The Mumbai City FC striker was a sniper in the box for the Islanders. Diaz scored a brilliant brace which saw the Islanders clinch the victory over NorthEast.

Des Buckingham seemed pretty happy with his performance. “Very good. We had to let him out to try and get his hat-trick which he nearly got in open play and should have got from the penalty. But we know we are a very different team when Diaz plays, obviously because of his finishing, but also the way he presses, the way he understands how we want to play. He is a very important player,” he concluded.

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