Kolkata: Chennaiyin FC head coach Marco Materazzi has termed the fracas following last year's Indian Super League (ISL) final against FC Goa as a "no incident".
"For me there was no incident. The crowd was cheering for a victory for Goa, but everything changed in two minutes. But that was an isolated incident. We have to remember ISL as a league to improve football in India. So that was just an isolated event," Materazzi told reporters on Saturday, ahead of their opening match against Atletico de Kolkata.
All hell broke loose after the summit clash last year, after Chennaiyin's marquee player Brazilian Elano Blumer allegedly assaulted an FC Goa official following an altercation in front of FC Goa's dugout in Fatorda. The former Manchester City midfielder was arrested on similar charges.
But video footage gleaned from the stadium purportedly showed that Elano did not resort to any aggressive conduct during the scuffle. In the footage, FC Goa officials were seen pushing and shoving Elano, and one of them even laid his hands on the face of the Barazillian, who tried to free himself from the scuffle.
Meanwhile, Materazzi said being champions is no pressure. "This is a new year. We start from zero. All teams do. Many coaches know the tournament already. We hope to reach the playoffs and there is no added pressure," he said.
Materazzi also called Chennaiyin's in-form Indian striker Jeje Lalpekhlua as the best player in the country at the moment. "I think that Jeje is not only be the best striker, but also the best player in India. It's been two years now and his goals have been amazing. He is a very important player not only for me but also for India as a whole; he is an icon and is the perfect man to develop football in India," the head coach said.
On plans to keep Atletico's marquee signing Helder Postiga quiet, Materazzi said, "He is one of the best players in the league, but there is no strategy specifically for him. We just need to curtail our mistakes, because if you remember the first goal happened because two of our players crashed against each other."