Santosh Kashyap’s Rangdajied United put in a top display against East Bengal and were held to a 1-1 draw at the MDS Stadium, Manjeri in a group B encounter of the Federation Cup.
Kim Yong gave the north eastern side the lead which could have been cancelled by Chidi Edeh who skied his spot-kick. James Moga scored the vital equalizer before Yong’s effort came off the crossbar late in the game, much to the disappointment of Rangdajied.
“I think throughout the game we played excellent. The first match is always tough for any team, and especially against East Bengal who are a very good team. I’m very happy with the way we played.
“We attacked and took shots and so many chances were created. I’m confident that we will go through from this group, and do much better. Goals will come in the next match I feel and I’m very happy overall.”
Midway into the second half, striker Manandeep Singh, who had just come on for Mum Mum Lugun in the 64th minute, was stretchered off after being at the end of a bad tackle by Uga Okpara.
“He has got a knee injury and has gone for an MRI scan but the breathing is normal now.”
He then shared his thoughts on the group his team were drawn in against the likes of East Bengal, Bengaluru FC and Sporting Clube de Goa.
“As I told you before, it is the group of death and we lost against all the three teams in the I-League but it is a different ball game here. And I have all my foreign players which we were not having. I have experienced players which we were not having and so I’m very confident that we will not finish last in our group.
“Like we have defended very well and I feel it is our match. We created so many chances and we should have killed the game in the first half. But they (East Bengal) are a very good team and they comeback.
“In both the next matches we’ll do well, we can beat any team, nobody except Salgaocar lost 4-0 to Shillong Lajong. The quality has moved up this season and every team is playing very good football. All are close and any team can beat any team on a given day.”
He then showed a brief moment of nostalgia, remembering his playing days in Kerala and also talked about the potential of teams from the region, if only administration is put in place.
“I enjoyed my playing days here. I scored many goals against Kerala Police in the Santosh Trophy with Kerala. Again I say excellent crowd, excellent passion, money is there but no professional team from Kerala and that is what I told the reporters also.
“But everything Kerala has, what we need is proper administration so that one, two, or three teams can come up from here. Only then we can see the good old days when VP Satyan, CV Pappachan played for Kerala Police.”