Playing in his first competitive match in the country, Italian legend Alessandro del Piero on Tuesday said that he enjoyed the adulation he got from the football fans at Delhi Dynamos' first match of Indian Super League against Pune City FC though he rued at not starting his side's campaign with a win. (Highlights)
"I enjoyed every bit of the match. They (the crowd) chanted my name when I entered the field and during play. It was really a very good feeling. I thank my Indian fans," del Piero said after the match ended in a stalemate. (ISL Standings)
"The playing atmosphere was also good with a lot of people turning up. Only thing was that we did not win the match," said the 39-year-old World Cup winner. (Also read: Dhoni no match for Del Piero)
The marquee player of the city franchise team said he was a bit disappointed at not winning the match but at the same time was happy with a good performance by his side in their first game at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here. (ISL Fixtures)
"We played very well and completely dominated the match but missed a lot of chances. A goal would have changed the complexion of the match," said del Piero who came into the match in the 37th minute in place of Morten Skoubo.
"But, it was our first match and we have done very well except that we did not score. The Indian players also played very well."
Manager Harm van Veldhoven also said that he was disappointed with the result but happy with the performance of his players.
"We want to play attacking football and we did it today (Tuesday). We had a lot of chances but could not score. Either the final pass or the finishing was lacking. I am disappointed at the result but I am happy with the way the team played," he said at the post-match media conference.
"Pune did not have any chance and they played with five at the back. It was difficult to break their defence as we did not get the space."
The Delhi coach, however, expressed confidence that his players will get the back of the opposition net when they take on Atletico de Kolkata in their second match on October 19 at Salt Lake Stadium.
"It's the start of the tournament and we don't know the tactics and style of play of opposition teams. So it's not a worry that we did not win," he said.
"Pune played a defensive game but I believe it will be a more open game against Atletico de Kolkata. I hope my players score in that match," said the Dutch.
Asked why del Piero was not in the starting line-up but brought in only in the 37th minute, van Veldhoven said, "We have to play at least 14 matches and we have to see who to start and who to come later."
"I was thinking all the time when del Piero can come in. Morten Skoubo was involved in a tussle and he felt some dizziness and I took the opportunity to introduce del Piero," he said, adding that Skoubo should be fine for Delhi's second match after some rest.
"The Indian players also played well and I hope this tournament helps the national team in the long run."
Pune City FC coach Franco Colomba said his side played a difficult game and made mistakes on the counter-attack.
The visiting side tried to play on the break for most part of the first half and Colomba said his players did not execute plans.
"Delhi were a very good attacking team with good technique and we played a very difficult match. We made mistakes on the counter-attack," the Italian said.
"I am happy with the result and I feel we can improve as the tournament progresses."