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With this result we are still alive and we can remain optimistic-Vingada


The Highlanders manager was pleased with his team's fighting spirit after they rescued a late draw against Chennai...

NorthEast United secured a decisive point away from home at Marina Arena as they thrice came from behind to earn a 3-3 draw against defending champions Chennaiyin on Saturday night.

Speaking to the press after the whistle, United manager Nelo Vingada stated that they deserved to win despite a few observers claiming that they always scored against the run of play. He said, “It was a fantastic game for the supporters, who came here today, as they witnessed six goals and high-profile substitutions. Even when the score sheet read 2-2, I think Chennai supporters felt that we could win the game. Maybe, we were lucky to snatch a late goal, but we fought to bring the luck to us.”

Bernard Mendy changed the game as he set up Dudu Omagbemi’s third goal of the night with a superb cross from the right flank. The Portuguese coach acknowledged his significance as he admitted that Chennaiyin were attacking fiercely after he came on.

“Mendy, after coming on and despite not creating any clear cut chance, changed the game as the ball was played more in our defensive half,” claimed Vingada. “After they had scored the third goal, we started pressing them as the ball was then played mostly in Chennai’s defensive half. We deserve the draw; it was the correct result according to what happened during the game.

“We missed many chances; maybe, we created more clear-cut chances than them, but the result is more important although nothing is decided based off that. Producing a result in the last moments builds the morale and we can approach the next two games – especially the next game against Delhi – with much confidence.”

The game saw the Marina Machans involved in yet another tussle as goalscorer Nico Velez appeared to spark a scuffle in the second half of the game. Stating that the controversy was the only stain in an otherwise fantastic game, he announced that the Highlanders could still make the playoff stages despite sitting two points adrift of fourth-placed Delhi Dynamos.

He said, “We lost in Goa in the last second. We lost in Kolkata in the last second, too. In those games, we were the better team on the pitch. We weren’t better here tonight and Chennai weren’t better either. Most of the game was very tough as some mindgames took the limelight as it did in Guwahati. It is not good for the game, especially with the staffers, players and coaches getting involved. It’s the bad part of the game, which was really good.

“With this result, we are still alive. We can remain optimistic. The next game will be crucial, but our progress also depends on the outcome of the Atletico de Kolkata versus Kerala Blasters game [on November 29]. I believe the second team to be qualified can be decided in Kerala. I don’t know which result is more important as Kolkata is three points ahead of us. I’m very optimistic. I believe we can do that as the team is responding well.”

Despite Katsumi Yusa’s prominence, the former Portugal Olympics manager demoted him to the bench. Questioned about his decision, he said, “Since [Rowllin] Borges is out – he is a crucial player in front of the defense – we did not have an Indian player to replace him like-for-like. To bring one player in his place, we had to sacrifice a foreign player while keeping the organization and without making too many changes to the setup. He has played every game, so we also intended to give him some rest.”

United host playoff rivals Delhi Dynamos on Wednesday night at Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium; however, a victory may not be enough to seal their place in the semi-finals, but a loss will sound the death knell to their chances of doing so.

Photo © ISL Media

Report by Khel Now Correspondent from Chennai Praveen R. Paramasivam

Published: Sun Nov 27, 2016 03:00 PM IST


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