Chennaiyin FC head coach Marco Materazzi was pleased as punch following his team’s title-clinching 3-2 win over FC Goa in the 2015 Hero Indian Super League final at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Sunday evening.
Chennai were trailing 2-1 when an own goal by Goa goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani seconds before full-time brought them back into the contest and then Stiven Mendoza scored in stoppage-time to seal an incredible win for the Super Machans.
Speaking to the media after the match, Materazzi praised his players and when asked what was going inside his head in the high-octane second half, he said, “Yes, when those things happen, luck matters. Anyway, I think we played a good game even though we missed a penalty. But then my congratulations to FC Goa. They fought like lions till the last minute even though their physical condition wasn’t good due to losing two players [Dudu and Leo Moura].”
The Super Machans kept their record of not losing at Fatorda intact but Materazzi denied that their previous two wins had made them confident going into the game. “I don’t think so because the whole ground was against us. But I like these kind of games because the courage of the players comes out in games like this. I want to congratulate the team. And this time also myself because I didn’t only give them skills and technical ability but also something to cherish,” he said.
The deadlock in the match was broken by Bruno Pelissari who converted from the spot in the second half to put Chennai ahead. Materazzi explained his decision of starting with the 22-year-old midfielder instead of the seasoned Elano. “I have to pick a team that I think can win and I have 26 players to choose from. I have said it many times that who deserves to play will play. I have to decide who plays. Pelissari has started five games but Elano is smart and I will also have to count on the physical factors. In the end what counts is that everybody is happy and that we win games,” the Italian said.
Materazzi also shed light on his team’s physical play on Sunday. “Here in Goa they have a player that has the same style of play which I think is putting character in the game and that player is Gregory [Arnolin]. I admire him very much. He puts in everything he has. I wouldn’t say our game is rough. I think we played with character and skill. We scored three goals and I think we deserved it,” he said.
Discussing his future at Chennaiyin FC, Materazzi said: “For now I just want to enjoy our victory. I said I wanted to win and we did win. It doesn’t matter where I coach but I know Chennai well. If I have to coach them for the next 10 years, I would. I will always keep [co-owners] Abhishek [Bachchan] and Vita [Dani] in my heart. We built a club in two years. We didn’t have a training pitch but now you can see where we are. Everyone in the team has a goal and sticks to it. I will always remember Chennai.”
Materazzi didn’t forget to mention the performance of the Indian players in the Super Machans camp. “I’m very happy about my Indian players’ performances. We changed eight players last year but now we have a solid base but you can see the development of the players like Jeje Lalpekhlua, Harmanjot Khabra, Zakeer Mundampara and Jayesh Rane. We came all the way from Europe to help them develop their skills and the way they play. Next year if I’m here, we will only change two-three players but for now I’m very happy with their performance.”