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Bengaluru FC were robbed at the death as Climax Lawrence had a final say in a match beribboned with controversies ranging from a harsh red to acts of diving.

After a brilliant start to the season Bengaluru FC stumbled away from home, again, at the Balewadi Sports Complex, Pune. After the 2-0 defeat to East Bengal, the Blues travelled to Pune for their second consecutive away match against Mumbai FC but could only manage a point.

“Well I won’t say anything went wrong as we conceded from a set piece deep into the fourth minute of injury time. We will have to regroup and play well in the next game. Our preparations were right, the way we played the game was right but we didn't kill the game off when we were 2-1 up even though we had plenty of chances and they were down to ten men. Obviously we got punished from the last kick of the game from a set piece,” explained a disappointed Ashley Westwood.

“We hadn’t done enough in the game to win it and we conceded from a set piece. We were the better side and we dominated the entire game. Clearly, we were head and shoulder above Mumbai FC today.  I wouldn't say that we haven't done well away from home. We have done well against East Bengal we did not win as there were factors and conditions to that. Today we shot ourselves in the foot by not taking the chances we should have and in the end by conceding from a set piece,” he added.  

Some would argue that referee Pranjal Banerjee had made a few questionable decisions throughout the game, but Westwood chose to refrain from criticizing him. Ashutosh Mehta, despite not being the last man, was sent-off by infringing Siam Hangal while the Bengaluru FC midfielder was on his way to goal in the first half.

“The referee has done his best and he is a human being. We all make mistakes and the referee is certainly not the reason we have lost the game today or drew if you like. We have no qualms with the referee. He's not doing anything on purpose."

Mumbai FC keeper Nidhin Lal and Robin Singh were involved in a number of heated exchanges with the former allegedly faking an injury every time he went within a centimeter of the latter during Bengaluru's attacks. Westwood was critical of the ploy used by the Mumbai FC custodian an launched a scathing attack on him.

"Well he (referee) can give only what he sees. If he has not seen it he cannot do anything, only he will know what happened. There is no criticism from me. But from where I stood I could clearly see that there was diving. Clearly he wasn't the only one, and at the end of the day they have to look at themselves in the mirror as divers or cheats. None of my players have to do that. That's part of them and their team. The word professional footballer is a word that’s used brightly in and around India but you didn't see them (Mumbai FC) as professional footballers today. You would certainly not see a professional footballer diving around on the field.”

 

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