Incredibly happy to have come away with a point: Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham

It was a spectacle in Pune as defending Hero Indian Super League (ISL) champions Hyderabad FC and Mumbai City FC played out an entertaining draw at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, in Pune, on Sunday.

The first half ended all square after HFC captain Joao Victor scored from the spot to make amends for a own goal by Chinglensana Singh. The second half witnessed four goals as Hyderabad took the lead twice through Victor and Halicharan Nazary, but the Islanders fought back on both occasions through goals from Greg Stewart and Alberto Noguera.

Report: Hyderabad and Mumbai share spoils after a six-goal thriller

Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham was happy with the performance of his team and was all praise for the substitutes, who helped MCFC snatch a point.

Here are the excerpts from the press conference:

Your thoughts on the game?

For the neutrals, for the fans, and people watching back home, it was a six-goal thriller.

I don't think for the coaches, for Manolo (Marquez) and myself, the heart rate may have gone up a little bit high. But now I'm very happy. It's the first game of the season. We played against a wonderful team with some very good players. Again, a wonderful coach as I spoke about before, and we're away from home, so to play against the defending champions and to come away with a point, I'm very happy. There is a lot of work to be done. To put ourselves in better positions when we put ourselves in front especially, but the character and the way that the team came back, especially towards the end, we finished very strong.

Mumbai City FC dominated the first half and the game was really poised. How did you approach the game going into the second half? 

Yeah, I think the penalty just before half-time changes the momentum going into the start of that second half because there's no opportunity to respond to that before the first half finishes. But again, we've got Jorge Diaz, who played his first game after four weeks. We've got some good minutes with him. And I think the most important thing was the changes that were made. They were able to come on and had a really good impact. I spoke before the game about the whole squad and how important the whole squad was going to be to make sure that we could affect change, goals and otherwise. And that's been the case tonight. So I'm very happy with those players who have come on to have that impact.

How do you think your team is going to build on for the next couple of games?

We'll rest and recover first. I'll bring my heart rate down a little more. We've got some time now to build towards what will be our first home game in Mumbai, in front of our own fans against Odisha FC next weekend.

Just a special mention to those fans that did travel up tonight. They did not stop singing, chanting and creating a wonderful atmosphere alongside the Hyderabad fans for a game here in Pune which is out of the way for them and for us. We've been very well looked after since we've been here, but to have the fans back in and put on a six-goal thriller for them was very enjoyable.

How did you feel playing in front of an engaged crowd that kept cheering for both teams?

Greg Stewart mentioned that football without fans is not football and they want to turn up and see goals, they want to turn up and see exciting football, the same way that we tried to play. I think we've certainly put that on for them tonight so we'll do our best to try and tidy up with the other end and not concede three. But we can't wait to get back to the Mumbai Football Arena next weekend against Odisha FC. And if we can add to the fans that travelled up tonight, I think it was 300-400 of our fans that made that trip in the end. We'll be doing our best to try and put on a performance again and come away with three points this time.

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