ISL 2017: Chennaiyin FC's assistant coach frustrated as Delhi Dynamos snatch draw with late goal
It was yet another a heartbreak for Chennaiyin FC on Sunday as they conceded a late goal in the ISL encounter against Delhi Dynamos to surrender two points.
After allowing the Dynamos to take the lead, Chennaiyin hit back with two goals from their striker Jeje Lalpekhlua either side of half-time to lead 2-1. They controlled the second half, but failed to extend their lead and see out the game. In the end, Guyon Fernandes struck for the visitors to dampen the mood in the 'Marina Arena’.
“We need to focus. It is not good when we concede late on”, said Chennaiyin assistant coach Sabir Pasha after the game, the disappointment writ large on his face.
“We are a fit team. It was not tiredness. It was about losing focus. We need to keep our focus”, added Pasha as this marked the second straight home game in which Chennaiyin conceded late to give up two points, the first being the match against Kerala Blasters.
Pasha also said that it was not complacency that led to the equalizer.
“Each and every match has pressure associated with it. We did not take Delhi lightly”, said Pasha. “They came at us hard and they are a team which can beat any side. We planned for them but unfortunately, we conceded a late goal.”
Central defender Henrique Sereno missed the game due to suspension and India veteran Dhanachandra Singh was inserted into the starting eleven in his place. He was at fault for the first goal as he let David Ngaithe sneak behind him, but Pasha empathized with the defender.
“Dhana is playing after a long time and I think he did very well today.
“He could have done better with that cross (But it happens sometimes. No doubt, he could have done well but it was a very good cross”, Pasha admitted.
Chennaiyin’s midfield general Raphael Augusto was another player who didn't start with René Mihelic featuring once again. The Slovenian enjoyed another good game as he was instrumental in most of Chennaiyin’s work going forward. It was a fact not lost on Pasha.
“Rene Mihelic has been playing very well. It was the call of the head coach (to pick him over Raphael Augusto) and I felt that there was a strategy behind that”, said the former India international.
“It was not about exposing Delhi Dynamos' set-piece weakness. We have other players who can send a good free-kick in. But it was a strategy which I do not want to reveal”, said Pasha choosing to remain coy.
He was also happy about Jeje featuring on the scoresheet yet again.
“Jeje always scores. That is all that matters for us and him. He will play as long as he scores. It doesn't matter to us if he holds the ball or has pace or not”, batting away concerns about fatigue for the India man.
Chennaiyin next play FC Pune City in a crucial top of the table clash on January 13th at home.