Pune FC coach, Mike Snoei, praised his team after a superb 2-0 home win against I-League stalwarts Mohun Bagan at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Sports complex in Pune on Thursday evening.
A cagey first half preceded a highly one-sided second in a match of immense magnitude which was evenly poised up until the 55th minute when Echezona Anyichie saw a second yellow and subsequent red for lashing out a Raul Fabiani, under whose high challenge the Bagan defender seemed to be suffering. The repercussions of the sending off saw the Kolkata based club concede two meek goals to come out the losers.
Mike Snoei was extremely happy after his side gained a vital three points at home, their first home game of the season.
“Yes, the first twenty minutes we played the best twenty minutes of the season with preparation (in training) and we forgot to score. Raul was a bit unlucky, but you must give yourself a present when you play like that. As the game progressed it got tougher to score, they too had a few chances notably when our goalkeeper stayed on the line and he made a small mistake. So it made them strong when we forgot to score. But, it’s a well-deserved win,” he said.
The Dutchman was pleased with his team’s style of play and believes that it can draw fans to the stadium.
“The way we played -with Douhou (Pierre) behind the strikers and Arata (Izumi) in a defensive midfield position, playmaker Mumtaz (Akhtar) was fantastic too. So I was really delighted and it gives me a lot of satisfaction of our work. And the young guys can change the game, that’s why we’re doing it. It gave me a lot of happiness as it reminds me of our work. I already told them after the Kolkata game (against Mohammedan Sporting), they were fantastic, a game we won 1-3. These guys have the potential, but they must show it now in the I-League. I guess it’s what you guys (Indian fans) are waiting for.”
On being queried on Fabiani’s condition, after he limped out gingerly in the second half, Snoei thought fully said, “Of course. Raul Fabiani scored in the first game and he’s so important for us. He’s fantastic guy too, and till now he hasn’t come off the way he did. So I’m sure there’s something wrong with him. But then, I bring my other striker and my other striker is (Thongkhosiep) Haokip.”
Snoei backed referee Umesh Bohra’s decision to send off Anyechie for retaliating against Raul which saw Bagan go down to ten-men with over 30 minutes play.
“I thought he (Anyechie) should get a direct red. Raul was asking him how he was after the incident and he kicked him! As for me, there was no doubt about the decision that should have been. But for them it was a game changer, a very bad moment as they got the second yellow card (for Echezona). It was good for us as we got a lot of place to play but we needed to be wary of the counter-attack,” expiated the coach on what he clearly thought was a stupid mistake by the Bagan defender.
Snoei and Mohun Bagan coach Karim Bencherifa were involved in a heated argument when Eric Muranda appeared to have slapped Anas Edathodika. And the matter didn’t end there as the 49-year old let loose at the Moroccan by labeling him a ‘bad loser’.
“I was very disappointed in the coach of Mohun Bagan, Karim Bencherifa. The striker (Muranda) must be careful especially with a guy like Anas and I’m very happy he controlled himself. If you hit Anas without the ball, he takes his own precautions, as Anas isn’t a guy who lies. He’s a very serious professional who doesn’t lie on the ground play acting. So if Anas is on the ground, then really something serious has happened. I was disappointed as the opposition coach did nothing to solve this thing. We played a nice game so it’s important that we hold these things and it was a good atmosphere too,” he opined.
“He’s (Karim) a bad loser. If you see the whole of the game there’s only one team that deserved to win and that was our team, so blaming the referee when we played well isn’t correct. If you see our team is composed of six or seven players from the under 23 set out of 18. No doubt we will face some disappointments in the season. But, when the opposition coach doesn’t give credit to our players, okay, it’s for him,” added Snoei.
He went on to criticize the tactics employed by Bencherifa and added that the Mariners could have played better brand of football had they pushed Katsumi Yusa and Ram Malik further forward.
“I tell you one thing about this team we played tonight. If you put the Japanese guy (Yusa), the striker, the lad on number 17 (Ram Malik) and play them in a much more forward position they could have caused us a lot of problems.
“They could have played much more attacking football. But they started on the back foot, going backward, looking for the counter against us, which they achieved a fair few number of times, thanks to Calum Angus, who was the action of the night, they were thwarted over and again,” explained Snoei.
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