Karim Bencherifa: The game against Rangdajied will be most important

The Moroccan coach didn’t give excuses for the poor performance dished out by his side against Mohammedan…

Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting played out a drab 0-0 draw at the Salt Lake Stadium in a round 20 I-League encounter on Saturday afternoon.

Neither side deserved to win in what was one of the most boring games of the season with chances coming at a premium.

“It was not a good game for many reasons. The midfield was very congested. Sometimes there were more than ten players there. we allowed a lot of crosses to come in. Both players on the flanks (Pankaj Moula and Ram Malik) travelled by train last night and only played two days ago. I expected CS Sabeeth and Manish Bhargav to open the game up and also have the confidence to beat players.

“We would have later included fresh legs in Pankaj and Ram. Losing Shilton (Paul) and Eche (Anyichie Echezona) was something that we did not plan for and so I could not get them in,” he said.

Compared to their last game against East Bengal, Mohun Bagan’s performance was poor and Bencherifa explained why.

“East Bengal, the way they play, they allow us much more space. Hence it was a different game where we pressed their back four high.  Thus we were also forced to play long balls like Mohammedan.”

Odafa Okolie returned to the line-up for the Mariners and lasted the entire duration of the game primarily as Bencherifa was forced to make two changes with Shilton Paul and Anyichie Echezona getting injured.

“I was thinking he (Odafa) would not play ninety minutes but he did as we were forced to make two substitutions. I was worried so I asked him after match if it was okay. Like for the whole team it wasn't easy for him to go up against two match fit centre-backs (Luciano Sobrosa and Sandeep Sangha).

“Echezona has a knee problem while Shilton has injured his calf,” he added.

Whether the 3 pm kick-off was a reason for the poor display from the two sides, Bencherifa said, “I have given enough excuses already so too many are not good. I need to start thinking of the game against Rangdajied which is becoming the most important game of the season.”

Mohun Bagan have now played 37 matches this season and according to their coach, their foreign players haven’t always been available for most part as he backed his claim with statistic.

“This season has been tough. We have played 37 games including this. With four foreigners available, we have only played nine and a half games as Echezona got injured today. There were many setbacks and the table is congested. Even top teams are dropping points,” he pointed.


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