Despite squandering two goal advantages twice and ending up dropping two points, Mumbai City FC coach Alexandre Guimaraes was full of praise for his team as they moved to the second position in the table. Mumbai took a 2-0 lead courtesy Krisztian Vadocz inside 38 minutes. Richard Gadze pulled one back for Delhi early in the second half before Sony Norde restored the two-goal cushion in the 69th minute. However, Badara Badji scored for Delhi five minutes later, and with eight minutes to go, Delhi earned a controversial penalty which Marcelinho converted to script a dramatic comeback and salvage a point.
"We had a fantastic game," Mumbai City FC manager Alexandre Guimaraes said at the post-match conference. "Game was good. Rival also came out to play. We are disappointed. The objective of ISL is to have game like these. Offensive and open game with 22 players putting their heart to get result. What happens sometimes happens. I am very proud of what my team is doing. We are still there on top," he added.
There was action, there were goals and there was drama and one felt that Mumbai were hard done by poor refereeing in the match.
There was a wrong offside call which resulted in Delhi pulling one back through Gadze in the 55th minute. And then a crucial, but soft penalty decision was given against them in the dying stages of the match which helped Delhi draw level and snatch two points from Mumbai. Guimaraes chose to describe his disappointment in very few words.
"I don't have a lot to say. Images show more than I can say," the Mumbai coach said.
Mumbai could have killed the match off early but for the missed chances and somewhere down the line their poor finishing proved to be crucial too.
In all, Mumbai had 16 shots in the match - seven on target and nine off it - but just three goals to show.
Mumbai coach defended the finishing saying the chances created were 50-50 and that the team was heading in the right direction.
"This is football. What's important for us is to have a system where players can express themselves. We went there to play attacking game, to create and to give the players to play their (natural) games. This is football. We had 50-50 chances today but we have to just konw that we are in the right direction," Guimaraes said at the post-match conference.
Norde was electric on the left flank and constantly gave the defenders a tough time. He deservedly got a goal in the 69th minute which restored Mumbai's two-goal lead but soon after that he was substituted. The coach was full of praise for the winger but constant travel and other injury concerns made him play safe.
"Norde is an important player. He wants to always play. We have to take care though, manage minutes. We have lost too many players to injury. He did great, he is an important player for us and he showed it today," Guimaraes said.
"He has been travelling a lot from one place to another. He went to Kerala and then came here. He started to feel a bit tired. Today there was an injury to Leo Costa, last game it was Anwar. We have to take care of our players," he added.
Midfielder Vadocz opened his account in the tournament and was the best player on the field. He was tireless and ran box-to-box, always there at the right place at the right time. He showed great positional sense and made really clever runs to score two goals. Guimaraes said that it was the intelligence of the Hungarian that stood out.
"He's been doing this since game one. He is a very intelligent player who understands the game, understands what I want from him in that role," Guimaraes told reporters. "He knows his role and he's getting better. He has the physical strength to do it. I am very pleased with his understanding of idea, there is an idea behind it," he added.
While finishing was a problem, there were some silver linings too for Mumbai as Matias Defederico, in the absence of Diego Forlan, got the much-needed support from the forwards and the midfield. Guimaraes stressed on the fact that Mumbai do need to play collectively rather than depend on one individual.
“Yes, of course I am happy. We cannot always depend on Matias Defederico to keep scoring for us. We play a creative game which creates opportunity for other players to score. It is fantastic for us,” Guimaraes said.
There was anger somewhere inside on potentially being robbed of two points but the fact that Guimaraes termed it as a fantastic performance meant that there were more positives than negatives for Mumbai from this match.