The Marina Machans are still in contention to secure playoffs spot.
Delhi Dynamos FC played out a 1 – 1 draw against Chennaiyin FC in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi on Sunday. Kalu Uche gave Delhi the lead with his penalty, but once again the Lions were undone from a set-piece as Mailson Alves headed home Rene Mihelic’s free-kick to equalise late on.
Addressing the media during the post-match press conference was Delhi’s head coach Miguel Portugal and he once more highlighted his team’s frailties from dead-ball situations. “We play well but we always hand one goal from a set piece,” the Spaniard stated. “We train to get organised from a set-piece situation. But, it is a problem with the individuals; their quality and their mentality.”
He, however, lauded the players in his team during the match, most of whom were talented youngsters. “Today we played with a young team,” Portugal said. “They are all good, neat players. We created lot of chances. The motivation is the same. My players enjoy playing and try winning the matches.”
While the 62-year-old was happy with his team’s performance, he was critical about conceding from a free-kick. “I am happy because my team played good football and tried to win,” Portugal remarked. “But, it is very difficult when you are 1 – 0 or 2 – 0 up and lose the match. But, we know where our problem is. It’s the set piece. It is a challenge for us.”
Before signing off, Delhi’s head coach revealed, “I told my players to play good football. For us, every match is a final because qualification (for the playoffs) is not possible anymore. For us, it is to enjoy playing football and try and win the match. We have some young players who are very good for the future. In future, Delhi Dynamos FC will be a good team.”
Chennaiyin FC earned a hard-fought 1 – 1 draw against Delhi Dynamos FC in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi on Sunday. Kalu Uche had given the hosts the lead from the spot, but Mailson Alves scored late on with a header to ensure the spoils were shared. The Hero ISL 2015 champions currently occupy the fourth spot in the league standings and addressing the media at the post-match press conference was their head coach John Gregory.
The Englishman didn’t agree with the referee’s decision of giving a penalty to Delhi. “I think the penalty was a harsh decision,” he stated. “I have noticed that the officials give penalties very quickly. It’s not a criticism; it’s the truth. You have to be a hundred percent sure before giving a penalty decision. It can alter the outcome of the game. And at this stage of the season with only a few games remaining, it was a crucial penalty given against us. I thought it was unjustified. But, then again, it was given, and we had to try and get ourselves back in the game.”
While Gregory thought that his team dominated proceedings, he also acknowledged the effort his opponents put into the game, stating that he was satisfied with the end result. “We dominated the game for long periods, we kept the ball really well, we passed the ball very well and we had some very good chances that we should have done better with,” the 63-year-old explained. “But, I have got to give a lot of credit to Delhi. Miguel (Portugal) has got his boys playing really good football and they are a bit unlucky regarding the outcomes of a few games this season. I look at it as a point gained tonight.”
He further added, “There are no easy games, and certainly coming here, we knew we were going to be in for a tough match. As I said, at the end of 90 minutes, I was happy to have got something out of the game. It keeps the momentum going.”
Speaking about his team’s current scenario, Gregory said, “We play the next two games against teams that are in direct opposition to us; in Goa and against Jamshedpur. A game in hand as well as compared to the other (teams) in the top half (of the table). So, it’s all in our hands. We can dictate what happens in the rest of the season; whether we get to the playoffs or not. So, in that respect, I am still a very happy man.”
Gregory also explained the approach he tried to bring into the game against Delhi. “Today we played with two attacking midfielders, two wingers and a striker,” he inferred. “So, we had five men forward always looking to try and score. We tried to win the game tonight. So, we are still very positive in that respect. Defensively, we did not have a great deal to do. But there was always the risk of attacking too much and giving away something at our end.”
Their captain, Henrique Sereno, was missing due to suspension, and Gregory underlined his importance in the squad, “We were missing our captain, and we have not won the two games when he has not started. So, he will be back on Thursday night and I will be very pleased to have him back. The team will benefit from him being back in the side.”
Before concluding, Chennaiyin’s head coach added that he was happy with his team’s performance thus far. “I am still very happy to be in the position we are in,” Gregory remarked. “We have had an excellent season so far. I just hope we can continue by getting something over Goa and then Jamshedpur over the weekend.”