The Italian commended his team’s efforts after they played over 90 minutes with 10 men before losing to Kerala Blasters on penalties…

Delhi Dynamos FC head coach Gianluca Zambortta was proud of his players following a semi-final exit at the hands of Kerala Blasters FC in Hero Indian Super League 2016 on Wednesday evening. Trailing 1-0 heading into the second leg at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, Zambrotta’s men displayed a brave performance despite being reduced to 10 men in the 28th minute when Milan Singh got his marching orders following a foul on Mehtab Hossain. However, that couldn’t break their spirit and they went on to finish the allotted time at 2-1 (2-2 on aggregate) thanks to goals from Marcelinho and Ruben Rocha. After no goals in extra-time, the match went into penalty shoot-out where the Lions came a cropper 3-0.

Be that as it may, Zambrotta had no complaints of his players following their exit. “I am proud of my team and we have played an amazing match today and it was not easy playing with ten people and I am very proud of the players and staff,” the Italian told reporters after the match.

Delhi, who finished the league stage in third position, have scored the maximum number of goals (29 from 16 games) this season, with both the finalists Kerala (15) and Atlético de Kolkata (19) way behind. Zambrotta said he was happy with the Lions’ season. “I think it was a very good season for Delhi Dynamos and I am very satisfied with the way the players played throughout the season and we scored the maximum number of goals and that was important and the first thing I told the players after we lost today, I told them thank you for a terrific season and I am very proud of them.”

In a surprising move today, Zambrotta replaced Marcelinho (highest goal-scorer as of now with 10 goals) with Bruno Pelissari towards the end of the second half of extra time. When asked what led to that decision, the 39-year-old said: “Marcelinho had a bit of an injury and that was a bit of a problem and that’s why I substituted him with Pelissari.”

Zambrotta also hinted at returning to Delhi for the next season. “About the next year, the first step is to forget what happened today and I am very happy with this experience and I have to speak with the owner of the team regarding the project for the future,” he said.

Report and Photo Courtesy: ISL Media