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David James rues missed chances, Josep Gombau in Chhangte praise

Written by: Ali Shibil Roshan

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The Blasters tactician was frustrated after dropping points for the second home game running while the capital club's boss criticized the fixture congestion.

Kerala Blasters and Delhi Dynamos shared the spoils at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi as Andrija Kaluderovic cancelled out CK Vineeth's 48th-minute opener for the home side, in the 84th minute of the game. 

After the game, Kerala Blasters' head coach David James and Delhi Dynamos' Josep Gombau met with the press. James, understandably, was frustrated, having been forced to settle for another draw. He said, "We had a lot of chances to put the game to bed. It is frustrating. We drew against Mumbai, that last minute equaliser. This game, I think it is 84. Having seen CK's penalty incident, it was a penalty. The referee did not give it. Sandesh (Jhingan) going down because he was not in a position to take that ball." 

Watch: Kerala Blasters 1-1 Delhi Dynamos highlights

Just seconds before Delhi scored the equalizer, the Blasters' skipper Jhingan fell to the ground. The defender was supposed to clear the ball, but he was not in a position to do so. Speaking on that James said, "A trip to China, pretty much no rest at all, frustrating. It was a tough game for us. The frustrating thing is that they took a point from us." 

Matej Poplatnik did not start for Kerala, while Vineeth did. When asked why the Slovenian did not start against Delhi James said, "CK has been training like he wants to start. He deserves to start. He scored a goal.. He did well in training. He was trying well. So, he got the start. Nothing to do with Matej."

Only three foreigners made it into Kerala's starting lineup. When asked if it was a ploy to make a statement that he wants to promote football in India the former shot-stopper said, it was solely on the basis of performance. He added, "I don't look whether it is foreigner or Asian. It is only about 11 players on the field. Look at the lineup, there are only two changes from the last lineup. CK Vineeth was the standout man. That has nothing to do with whether it is foreigner or Indian."


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Meanwhile, Josep Gombau was happy that his team earned a point in a packed atmosphere. Youngster Lallianzuala Chhangte was Delhi's key performer in the game. The Delhi gaffer praised the player, but said he has room to improve. "Chhangte is a very good player. He is a young player. He has room to improve. He could become best winger in India."

Marcos Tebar did not play against Kerala Blasters and the midfielders were floundering. When asked was it a problem the team had to work on, Gombau said, "No. We have good players [midfielder]. We are playing a lot of games in a short time, we have to rotate. Marcos Tebar was injured. His absence was a big loss for us. A player who is very important. We have other players. Vinit did well."

Delhi did not get enough resting time since they had played against ATK just a few days ago. When asked if that was a problem Gombau said, "For any team, playing these games in a short time is not good for anyone, not good for players, not good for coaches." 

Had Sandesh Jhingan not lied on the ground and vied for the ball, Delhi Dynamos might not have been able to score the equaliser. When asked about that, he said, "What happened there is that we scored a goal. We don't know what happened to their central defender. It was a good cross and we scored. But, I'm not the judge talking about the situation."

Delhi's goalkeeper Dorronsoro Sanchez on some occasions played like a sweeper-keeper. When asked if he appreciates such endeavours the coach said, "I like to play from the back. I like to start having the ball from the back and progress on the field. What he did was what he thought the best."

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Published: Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:33 PM IST

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