The Portuguese boss reflected on his side’s gritty 1-1 draw with Delhi Dynamos…

NorthEast United FC made it 10 points from five matches after a pulsating 1-1 draw against Delhi Dynamos FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi on Saturday evening. The Highlanders fell behind to a Kean Lewis goal in the 38th minute, however, Emiliano Alfaro scored his fourth goal of Hero Indian Super League 2016 in the 51st minute to share the points and extend his side’s lead at the top of the table.

Speaking to the media at post-match press conference, NorthEast head coach Nelo Vingada hailed the attitude of his players and labelled Saturday’s game as one of the best of the season so far. “This was one of the best games of Hero ISL 2016. Two great teams with a fantastic attitude, good chance for both sides and I think we deserved to draw the game. Even Delhi created some very good chances. I am so proud to be the coach of these players and a member of this family which is NorthEast United,” said Vingada.

He added: “Now I’m sure that in Guwahati and other regions in the north-east, people will take pride in these players and this team. We reached 10 points so far, which is good but we have not yet reached our target, which is to play the semi-finals. So we need more points, but I’m very confident because in these five games our team has kept improving and now we can play anywhere against anyone and give a fight. But of course we play to win. I’m very happy to be part of this league, this country and the atmosphere is great.”

Delhi Dynamos FC head coach Gianluca Zambrotta was effusive in his praise of the Highlanders during his post-match press conference, calling NorthEast the best football playing team at present. Vingada returned the favour by calling Delhi a great team and admitted that it was anyone’s game right till the final whistle. “Delhi have a great team and today’s result could have gone either way with either team winning. The game was in the balance, they were home so they had more control. But it was a great game and it was a great game for the ISL and a great game for Indian football,” said the 63-year-old.

Six minutes into the second half, Nicolas Velez and Emiliano Alfaro combined effectively to get the leveller for their side. Vingada was all praise for his star performers on the pitch. “Everyone knows Velez since he has been playing here [from last year] and he is just consolidating but this is Alfaro’s first season and he was chosen for me. Alfaro is a great professional who works hard in training and he is a quality striker,” he said.

After five games in 15 days, NorthEast can be proud of their start to the campaign having won three, drawn one and lost one. The Highlanders now have a four-day lay-off before their next game against Chennaiyin FC at home. When asked what he was looking to do during this period, Vingada said: “The immediate days after today are important for recovery. This was our fifth game in two weeks so the weight of the effort might be seen in the next game against Chennai. But of course, it’s better to have five days than to have three days to recover, so in the afternoons we can have more relaxed training sessions. But in football nothing is 100% sure, sometimes the players look more tired after the rest. But the team is strong enough to cope with anything.”

Report and Photo Courtesy: ISL Media