I-League 2017-2018: Dheeraj could have played in India, says Matos

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The Indian Arrows went down 2-0 to East Bengal, but it was Dheeraj Singh who stole the thunder despite his absence..

Goals from Mahmoud Al Amnah and Katsumi Yusa fired East Bengal to a 2-0 victory over Indian Arrows in Delhi on Tuesday. This was the first match that Arrows played without Dheeraj Singh and head coach Luis Norton de Matos once again made it clear that the goalkeeper's decision to leave India for Europe might not be the best for his career.

"I gave my advice to Dheeraj and I want to be wrong. I want good for his career. He could have played in India, ISL (Indian Super League) or I-League I don't care, but game time is very important for the development of a player which he will not have in Europe at least until August," stated Matos.

Matos made it clear that he has full confidence in Prabhsukhan Gill, the current shot-stopper for Arrows.

"It will be a new process for the new goalkeeper and the team will be protecting the goalkeeper. The only one opportunity East Bengal had from open play in the second half and Gill saved that fantastically. It is difficult to substitute Dheeraj. Gill has the same potential as Dheeraj but lacks experience. But with some games he will be as good as Dheeraj in the future," said a confident Matos.

Arrows conceded two early goals and after that East Bengal controlled the proceedings. But the former Benfica B coach was satisfied with the performance of his boys as he had to make multiple changes to his team that played Mohun Bagan only three days back.

"We gave two early goals and then they controlled because they are an experienced side. But I am very satisfied with the performance as we had made seven changes to the side and they were not able to create many opportunities. We paid the bill for playing Mohun Bagan just three days back. We have another game in three days and Amarjit will be back. There will be some rotations once again," confirmed the Portuguese coach.

When questioned about whom he thought was the better side between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, Matos was slightly tilted towards the Mariners.

"Both teams are experienced but they depend heavily on foreign players. For the results, we can say East Bengal but I am more impressed with the quality of Mohun Bagan. But they are two very good teams and there have been two different stories in two games because of different events," opined Matos.

Khalid Jamil, the East Bengal head coach was satisfied with his team's performance and believed that 2-0 was a fair reflection of the proceedings on the pitch.

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"I am satisfied with my boys' performance. They (Indian Arrows) played well, they tried hard but were unlucky," said Jamil.

Amna, who was also present with his coach, cleared any doubts on his injury as he had to be stretchered off from the field.

"I felt some cramps on the field. We played two close games, so I was a bit cramped at the end. Hopefully, I will be back for the next match," concluded Amna.

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