Gombau: Should have made first-half domination count

Odisha FC came from behind twice to secure a point against Chennaiyin FC in Match 26 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Thursday. The match, however, could have played out very differently had the visitors taken advantage of the many chances they squandered in the first 45 minutes.

At the post-match press conference, Odisha FC head coach Josep Gombau highlighted his team’s wastefulness in the first-half and said, “Disappointed with the result. The second-half was very open with both teams attacking. In the first-half, we played very well and created chances. We should have scored one or two goals and should have won the game.”

The Spaniard, however, lauded the character of his team for clawing their way back twice in the second-half. “We made a mistake in midfield in the second-half which cost us a goal. The positive part was that the team had the composure to equalise in two-three minutes. After that we had an injury to Carlos Delgado and Marcos Tebar wasn’t feeling well. He had a stomach upset before the game. We conceded the second goal but had the mentality to attack and get one point,” he said.

Striker Aridane Santana scored the last goal of the match in the 82nd minute to secure a point for Odisha. The Spaniard now sits atop the Golden Boot charts with four strikes to his name. Praising his ace striker, Gombau opined, “Aridane is a top player. Having him in the team is a pleasure for me. He is a humble guy and high-quality player. He can finish but can also play between the lines. He is a very good signing for us and is now the top scorer (in the league). If we can put in more quality crosses in the box, he can score.”

Shifting his focus to winger Nandhakumar Sekar, who too had an impressive outing on the night, Gombau remarked, “Nandha is a very important player for us. He is very young and still has a long way to go. Our team is a very young side. I am satisfied with Nandha but he has room to improve. I think he can be a key player for India.”

The draw was Odisha’s third in a row. Asked if he was concerned with the trend, Gombau replied, “We want to play a type of football which is not easy. We try to play from the back, we play with attacking wingers. Today’s football is a game of mistakes, the team that makes less mistakes wins. Nowadays, a lot of goals come from transitions and set-pieces. Most teams sit back and wait for counter attacking but I am not that type of coach, who waits for mistakes. I prefer to dominate games. We have spirit and play good football.”

Read the Match Report here.

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