Mumbai City FC secured a narrow 1-0 win over Chennaiyin FC in Sunday’s cagey ISL encounter. Achille Emana scored from the spot at the hour mark in what proved to be the only goal of the night at the Mumbai Football Arena in Andheri.
But the more pressing issue was the manner in which both sides entered this match. Mumbai were playing after a rest period of one whole week post their 1-1 draw in Kerala. Chennaiyin on the other hand, played their third match in eight days, two of which were away games.
Understandably, the home side looked fresher on the night against a tired Chennai outfit were forced to make five changes. Coach, John Gregory had no choice but to bench his two star players, Jeje and Raphael . Post the game, the manager expressed his disgust with the ISL’s haphazard schedule.
“We’ve had three games in a week and the players are incredibly tired. The amount of work they’ve put in prior to tonight, the likes of Jeje and Rafa have been playing with injuries. If they were to start tonight, there could have been a serious injury.
“I was speaking with Teddy (ATK coach) the other night and he said at times he has only 14 players training. He has 7 or 8 players who have serious injuries or can’t train. We don’t want that situation. With the schedule that he has in the ISL, you will actually destroy the players, we have to look out for them,” he explained.
Speaking specifically about the match, John suggested that his side were definitely the better side but rued the fact that his players failed to keep their calm in the final third of the pitch.
“Look at the stats, I didn’t really look to my right very much today. It was just wave after wave of attacks from us and had we used the ball a little bit better, we could have certainly won the game,” he stated.