BY ATANU MITRA
East Bengal went down 3-0 to a strong Kuwait SC side in the AFC Cup semifinal’s second leg at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Marcos Falopa, the coach of the home team was all praises for his opponents in the post-match press conference.
"The second goal killed our hopes. Kuwait were much superior. I know a few players from their national team and the kind of payment the professional footballers get there. They even had a player who gets more than a million dollars per month. Even after conceding two goals, we tried and continued to fight," he told the press.
He however stressed that his team also got its share of chances but failed to convert them.
"Attack was bad for us. We had a few chances, but couldn't score. The goalkeeper also had a few very good saves. James Moga was fighting an infection in his teeth and lacked energy. He got more chances than Chidi (Edeh), though," he told.
Speaking about the goals, he conceded that defensive errors led to the collapse as they conceded three goals.
"We failed to concentrate and conceded the goals. The third goal was what I will call 'innocent' as an inexperienced player was involved. Still I believe in my 'Cafu' (Abhishek Das)."
Falopa didn’t acknowledge that the conversion rate from set-pieces has been poor from his side given that it was an area of strength under the previous reign of Trevor Morgan.
"Corners can't offer you goals every match. Uga (Okpara) scored one in the first leg but you have to also see the kind of defending they do at those times. However, I will sit down with Americo (Falopa), my assistant and note down a few new strategies," he remarked.
James Moga, the South Sudanese striker was very unhappy after he was replaced and put his finger to the lips to indicate his coach to shut up. Falopa however, played down the incident and told, "I liked it. This shows that the player wanted to play the 90 minutes. We are good friends and have no problem."
He mentioned that his side will do well in the I-League this term.
"The team is improving. My friends from Kuwait also praised our display in the away match. We have a hard season to face, but we will definitely try to win. The level of opponents were also different while the boys were stressed to play such a big game," he said.
"Kuwait SC is certainly a favourite to win the cup. They have a number of very good players," he concluded.