Atletico de Kolkata secured their first win of the new 2018/19 Hero Indian Super League (ISL) season with with a 2-1 defeat of Delhi Dynamos at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Steve Coppell’s side left it late to edge past Delhi after initially taking the lead in the 20th minute through Balwant Singh’s curler. Delhi equalised 9 minutes into the second half through Pritam Kotal.
Jayesh Rane and Noussair El Maimouni came off the bench for ATK in the second half and immediately made an impact. With six minutes remaining, the two substitutes combined for the Moroccan striker to place the ball into the net and score the winning goal.
“I thought we played well for most of the game. After they equalised, we lost it for a little bit, in terms of the threat of the game. But all in all, we wanted to try and get forward and certainly, in the first half, I was very pleased with the way we played.
“A superb goal by Balwant put us in front and we knew that we still had a job to be done. When they equalised, there was a spell of five minutes where I thought we needed to calm down and retain possession a bit more and we managed to do that. So, at the end of the day, I’m very pleased to have a win at this stage of the season.”
Both searching for the winner Delhi started to dominate exchanges so Coppell sent ion the two substitutes for Komal Thatal and Uche.
“Komal, I thought was just getting a little bit tired. I had Jayesh there. Jayesh almost started the game but I made the decision not to start him. So I knew Jayesh could do that job with fresh legs.
“Kalu was not part of the team and couldn’t attend a lot of training sessions. We couldn’t get his VISA. So I felt we needed Everton’s pace upfront to run us out of trouble. It was just the combination. Maimouni comes in. He’s got two good feet and some energy. So that was two substitutions that worked for once. There are an awful lot of times when the substitutions don’t work.”