FC Pune City were held to a 1-1 draw by Delhi Dynamos in their Indian Super League (ISL) opening game of season five. Rana Gharami puts the hosts into the lead before Diego Carlos scored late in the tie to pick a point for Pune.
“Well, I think in the first half we started the game strongly and had a lot of chances to score but it was Delhi who scored the goal with a great chance. In the second half, we tried to press high and try to draw the match. It is true that Delhi did have two chances more to score another goal but that’s football. In the first half, we had so many chances could not score,” said coach Miguel Portugal.
Marcelinho was suspended for the tie owing to the red card he picked up in the Super Cup. Portugal was asked if the Brazilian’s return would bolster his team’s attack.
“Marcelinho is a big player for this league but for me nothing. Right now, I only care about the players who can play. I am very happy by my team’s performance in the match,” said the Spanish coach.
Pune were seen pressing high up the field which left massive gaps at the back which was to an extent exploited by the Delhi wingers.
“Yes, that is one of the consequences of pressing more high. That is a risk we needed to take since we were losing. In football, you need to take risks in such situations.”
Ashique Kuruniyan put in a decent shift for Pune and was a constant threat on the left flank. However, his final delivery into the box left a lot to be desired.
“I had a lot of confidence in Ashique. For me, I am very happy with his work in training. He is a young player. In Delhi, we were working with Chhangte, Nandhakumar and Vinit Rai, Sajid. In Pune, we have Ashique, Poojary, Sarthak. I like young players since they are the future of football in India.
For me, Ashique needs to improve with his decision making when he has the ball. Ashique’s mentality is always driving, driving, driving (forward). In football, you can do driving, pass and shoot also. I want Ashique to change that mentality,” he mentioned.
Portugal threw some light on his tactics against Dynamos. He had instructed his players to press the likes of Nandhakumar and Vinit Rai in order to win the ball and not get into one-on-one situations.
“Their players are very fast. I told them to press Chhangte, Vinit, Nandha with intensity as soon as they had the ball. I wanted two-on-one against them and not one-on-one. We know Chhangte and Nandha are very good at driving with the ball forwards. That is why I always wanted a two-on-one situation against them,” he signed off.