Gregory Nelson’s late goal handed the southerners the win also taking them to the league’s summit.
FC Pune City succumbed to a 1 – 0 setback against Chennaiyin FC in Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Chennai on Sunday. The Stallions who had most of the major chances in the game, were undone by Gregory Nelson’s strike seven minutes from full-time as they crashed to their fourth defeat of the season.
Addressing the media during the post-match press conference was an understandably disappointed Pune City assistant coach, Vladica Grujic, who admitted that their second half performance didn’t match the first, but overall the Stallions’ gameplay was good. “We didn’t play as good as the first half but it’s not too bad,” the Serbian stated. “About the foul before the goal, I don’t want to say too much. First half we played very good football and second half also we controlled the game, but Chennaiyin won.”
Grujic added that goal-machine Marcelinho’s miss affected them on the evening. “Of course, when you concede a goal, it’s not easy to stand up again because today we missed Marcelinho,” he admitted. “(But) we did not have the power after the goal to make chances.”
Even though both teams played good football, the result had him gutted. “Both teams played a good game,” Grujic stated. “I cannot say now this was good, that was not good. Sometimes it’s Diego (Carlos), sometimes Rafa (Lopez), sometimes Marcelinho, sometimes (it’s Emiliano) Alfaro that plays the situation on the day. I’m very upset about this result because we lost the game being the better team.”
Meanwhile, Chennaiyin FC’s assistant coach Sabir Pasha believed that his team deserved the win. ”We probably deserved the win,” Pasha opined. “They (FC Pune City) played well. I think we defended really well in the first half. There was a moment where Pune had a chance. I think in the second half we took over and we did pretty well.”
He also pointed out what went wrong for his opponents. “They had some changes, they sat back and became negative and that worked for us,” said Pasha before praising his defence. “That shows how strong our defence is. You can score goals anytime, but clean sheets win you matches. I think we are doing very well defensively. There are good defensive teams and we are also one of them.”
Augusto came on in the second half and provided the assist for Nelson’s goal, and Pasha heaped praise on the Brazilian. “Pune is a good attacking side,” he admitted. “We wanted to defend well and hold Pune till the 60 minutes, and see that we get our best players (on) once they get tired. I think it (the substitution) worked. Initially, we were lacking but coming to Raphael, he’s a very good player. I think John’s (Gregory’s) strategy worked today.”