ISL 2017: "Delhi Dynamos beat us in pace and physicality," concedes FC Pune City manager Ranko Popovic
The fifth match of the Indian Super League between FC Pune City and Delhi Dynamos turned out to be the most exciting game of the ISL until now. Five second-half goals was the story of the night as the Dynamos ran out 3-2 winners in the end on Pune's home turf. The first half was a drab affair as both the sides looked extra cautious to commit more men forward with this being the opening game of the ISL 2017 campaign for the teams in focus.
But the second half saw a different story altogether as Delhi upped the tempo and raced to a 3-0 lead with a quarter of the game to go. Paulinho Dias, Lallianzuala Chhangte and Matias Mirabaje scored for the Dynamos with manager Miguel Angel Portugal being a happy man with his side's dominant display.
Portugal said, "We had more energy in the second half, passed the ball around with ease and controlled the game in midfield. My philosophy was reflected on the field which resulted in a victory at the end. In fact, we could have scored more and had enough clear-cut chances in the 90 minutes."
FC Pune City manager Ranko Popovic conceded the fact that Delhi were better than his side on the night and deserved all three points. Popovic reflected on the game, "We didn't play as a team in the starting of the second half. We looked nervous and paid for our mistakes. Delhi deserved to win and were better in all departments. They beat us in pace and in physicality and frankly, looked better prepared than us."
The Stallions also suffered a blow just before the start of the game as the midfielder, Jewel Raja was injured in the warm-up exercises. The home side had to make a change in the first minute with Baljit Sahni coming on for the injured Raja. Popovic later revealed that he does not know the intensity of Raja's injury at the moment but accepted the fact that the injury cannot be used as an excuse for the defeat.
Meanwhile, it was Delhi Dynamos' young winger Lallianzuala Chhangte who caught everyone's attention with a dazzling display. Coach Miguel Portugal was pleased the Mizo winger's performance and said, "Chhangte likes to take risks and has understood my philosophy well. My message of rotating the ball and opening up the game on the flanks was understood brilliantly by him."
On a positive note for Pune, they did manage a comeback of sorts in the final quarter of the game and succeeded in scoring two goals in the form of Emiliano Alfaro and Marcos Tebar. Coach Popovic was pleased with the fight shown by his players as he said, "After going 3-0 down, the players wanted to fight and pressed high up the pitch. We found the energy and the motivation to score two goals at the end which can be said as a positive for us from this game."