ISL 2017/18: "Referees give penalties too quickly," laments Chennaiyin FC coach John Gregory
Chennaiyin FC head coach John Gregory took a dig at the referee again after his side conceded what he considered to be a soft penalty against Delhi Dynamos at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, on Sunday.
Chennaiyin, who are fighting for a top-four finish in the ongoing ISL season, stumbled on their trip to Delhi, as they could come away from the match with only one point to their name after a 1-1 draw.
The Super Machans went on the backfoot early in the second half, when a collision between Matias Mirabaje and Raphael Augusto was deemed as an infringement by the latter inside his own area, as the referee awarded a penalty. While the spot-kick was duly converted by Kalu Uche, Gregory was clearly not impressed.
"I think the penalty decision was harsh. The officials give penalties away very quickly," said Gregory after the match. "You have to be 100 percent correct when giving them away."
Incidentally, Gregory had previously attracted a three-match touchline ban and a fine of Rs 4 lakh from the ISL authorities for criticising the referees post their away match at Jamshedpur last month.
However, he went on to heap accolades on Delhi Dynamos and their coach Miguel Angel Portugal, saying that the bottom side played quite well to earn the draw.
"I've got to give Miguel and his boys credit; he's got them playing very well. They played well against us in Chennai and even did well to beat Bengaluru FC," he said.
While Uche gave the home side an unlikely lead, it was captain for the night Mailson Alves, who nodded in the equaliser from a Mihelic corner. Delhi boss Portugal conceded after the game that set-pieces are one area where his side needs to improve upon.
"We always play with this handicap of conceding from a set-piece. We practice defending set-pieces all day but in the game, we still concede from them," lamented Portugal.
This result takes Chennaiyin to the fourth spot on the ISL table, three points ahead of fifth-placed Kerala Blasters. As Chennaiyin FC go looking for a top-four finish, which would ensure qualification for the semifinal playoffs, one thing going in their favour is that they have one game in hand over the rest of the pack around them on the table.