Super Cup 2019: Akbar Nawas - The players showed why Chennai City are champions

AIFF Media
The Singaporean maintains Bengaluru were the better side despite outclassing them in the quarter final...

In the clash of the champions, it was I-League winners Chennai City that prevailed over Indian Super League (ISL) side Bengaluru FC 2-1 in the 2019 Super Cup on Thursday.

Despite sending the ISL side packing in the quarter final, Chennai City head coach Akbar Nawas was not ready to classify his side better than the inaugural Super Cup winners.

"Bengaluru is one of the best in Indian football. For us, to play them, we have had to study a lot. I am glad the players stuck to the plan. Of course, Bengaluru FC are always the better side. Let's not kid ourselves, it is what it is. I cannot say that we played better but we used three formations to tactically counter them," he said.

While Nestor Gordillo and Pedro Manzi found the back of the net, it was Italian goalkeeper Mauro Boerchio that pulled numerous saves of the highest order, including a Sunil Chhetri penalty to emerge as the player of the game.

"He joined not too long ago and has been doing good in the last couple of games", Nawas spoke of Boerchio, who joined from NEROCA after the winter transfer window.

"He has been coming in the picture very well. Football is a team game. You always talk about Manzi and Sandro (Rodriguez) but Mauro helped us from the back today. Everybody did their job and that's why football is a team game. I am very happy for what Mauro did today. He carried the team along with the usual suspects."

Nestor Gordillo Bengaluru Chennai City Super Cup

Nawas though, did not take too kindly to accusations of being too defensive. He countered by saying, "Everyone around the world could say that we sat back. But, ask the players, there was no instruction to sit back or be defensive.

"But, the way they pressed forward and we did not move early that is why it looked like we sat back. Knowing that, we had to prepare to counter them at the right place and the right time."

"Credit to my players, they beat one of the best teams in India. They showed why they are champions."

Playing an all-Indian four-man defence after Roberto Eslava's injury, Nawas always feared for the worst. But, he was happy his wards followed his orders to a tee.

"With Robert (Eslava) not around and with Gaurav (Bora) and Tarif (Akhand) in defence, we could have had let in goals. But, we showed them videos of how to defend against the Bengaluru players. They followed some and some, they did not where they got away with it thankfully.

Special praise was reserved for left-back Ajithkumar Kamaraj who was pretty impressive taking on a player of Udanta Singh's calibre with ease. "For Ajith, going against one of the top players in India was no mean joke. To be honest, he surprised me today. He did very well."