ISL: Roberto Carlos plays down player release controversy

Delhi Dynamos coach Roberto Carlos plays down controversy surrounding the release of national team players from his Indian Super League side.

ISL: Roberto Carlos plays down player release controversy

New Delhi: Delhi Dynamos coach Roberto Carlos on Thursday sought to play down the controversy surrounding the release of national team players from his Indian Super League side, saying that there was some "misunderstanding" with his team and Indian football authorities.

"These three players (Robin Singh, Francis Fernandez and Sehnaj Singh) are very important players for me. I wanted to play them against FC Goa (on Sunday). We could have bought three tickets to fly them to Dubai and join the national team there," the Brazilian World Cup winner told reporters after Delhi Dynamos beat Chennaiyin FC 1-0 in an ISL match here.

"Everything was arranged. But there was a misunderstanding (that led to the controversy). They were also important for the national team," he said.

On the directions of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), the national team players in the ISL sides were asked to report to head coach Stephen Constatntine on Sunday evening so that they can board the Monday morning flight to proceed to Turkmenistan for the 2018 World Cup qualifying round match against Turkmenistan at Ashgabat today.

Delhi Dynamos had wanted the three players to join the national team in Dubai where they will be in transit en route to Turkemistan.

Eventually the national team halted at Dubai airport for six hours on Monady waiting for a connecting flight to Turkmenistan.

FIFA rules said that national team players should be released by their clubs four days prior to international matches, inclduing the match day, which happens to be today.

Carlos, however, said he did not want to dwell on the controversy now and wished Constantine and Indian team well.

"I will do whatever I can to help Constantine."

Talking about today's match, Carlos said the 1-0 win was enough for his side, considering that it was their second match of the season.

"The fans want to see a lot of goals but the competition has just started. The team is getting to know each other. Let them get along and we will win more easily," he said.

His side also missed a few chances that came their way and Carlos said his players could have scored more had they "chilled out" a little bit.

Carlos conceded that Chennaiyin dominated the second half but said that his side were well organised in defence.

"We were winning 1-0 and so we wanted to counter-attack.

They attacked but the positioning of our defence was very good."

Carlos said he was not totally satisfied with the refereeing in the match but said the penalty awarded in favour of his side was correct.

"I don't want to comment on the performance of the officials. That is the job of the ISL. But the penalty was a correct decision. From what I saw it was a penalty. That is it," he said.

A disappointed Chennaiyin assistant coach Vivek Nagul described the penalty awarded by the referee to Delhi a "dubious" one.

"They (Delhi) did not create chances except for the dubious penalty," he said.

Asked if the performance of the referee was not up to the mark, Nagul said, "I don't want to comment on that. We thought it was not a penalty but the referee thought it otherwise and we accept that.

"Moreover, three Delhi players could have been given second yellow card," he added.

He said Chennaiyin were the better side though they lost.

"Before we settled down, we were one goal down. We tried to equalise but we missed chances," he said.

"Our defence did well. We were very good in the second half and we could have equalised. The better team lost today." 

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