Delhi Dynamos’ unbeaten run at home came to an end as Kerala Blasters defeated them on penalties to reach the final of the Indian Super League (ISL) on Wednesday. (HIGHLIGHTS)
Dynamos coach Gianluca Zambrotta was happy with how the team coped with pressure after Milan Singh picked up a red card in the 28th minute.
“I am very proud of our team today. It is never easy to play with one man down and the way we operated after the red card was quite commendable.”
Zambrotta also defended his decision to replace in-form forward Marcelinho with Bruno Pelissari in the second half of extra time. The change did not work as he missed his penalty during the shoot-out.
Asked about the change, Zambrotta said, “He had an injury and at that moment I thought the substitution was in his best interest. Bruno (Pelissari) is one of our penalty specialists and I thought he was our best option at that moment.”
It was a bitter end to the season for the Dynamos who played brilliant football and their Italian coach made it a point to thank his players for their contribution.
“It was a very good season and I’m really satisfied with how the team performed. We scored the most number of goals in the tournament and I would like to thank my players for their support.”
Blasters coach Steve Coppell congratulated his team on the victory and when asked about the game during the post match-press conference, he said, “We deserved the victory for the kind of football we have played over the two legs. I like to play attacking football and tonight was no different. We opted for a 4-2-4 formation after the red card, but respect to Delhi Dynamos as they were able to defend so well with 10 players.”
Coppell was cautious of the danger that awaits them in Kochi on Sunday, but sounded optimistic about their chances of taking revenge for their 2014 final defeat.
“Atletico de Kolkata made nine changes in their squad for the second leg of their semifinal and that shows their squad depth. We are pumped up after today’s win and hopefully we will be able to defeat them in front of our home crowd in the final.”