Churchill Brothers were left to rue a couple of defensive slip-ups at the back, as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Semen Padang at the Balewadi stadium in Pune.
When quizzed if he was content with the one point, that they gained courtesy of a Bikramjit Singh equalizer, coach Mariano Dias commented, “Not exactly, we should have won this game. We had chances, but when we were leading by one goal, we gave them a chance (to score), and the second goal was a gift. Still we came back into the match in the second half, and it was good to get the equalizer, as something is better than nothing.”
Sunil Chhetri scored a goal, and was involved in most of the Red Machines’ attacks. The Churchill Brothers’ coach though, felt that the striker could have done even better. He quipped, “Sunil scored one goal, but I did not feel he was at his usual levels, and was below par. Maybe getting back just lately from the Challenge Cup qualifiers could be one reason (for his display) as he didn’t get much time to combine with the players.”
Speaking about the two goals that his side conceded, Dias refused to place the blame squarely on goalkeeper Sandip Nandy and stated, “I should not blame only the goalkeeper (for the goals). In my view, there were two defensive lapses and they led to two goals.”
Giving more details about how he rallied his troops at half-time, he said his message was clear to the boys.
“We wanted to get the equalizer, and if you see, we could have scored one more. Beto had a great chance which he mis-hit and another shot was saved. He played well upfront, especially with Henri Antchouet being out, due to personal reasons.”
Dias though refused to give up hope of making the next round and said, “You cannot say anything in football. We have to play and perform to win. The last game also against Kitchee we played well and today’s game also we played well.”
With Bilal Najjarine having left the club during the transfer window, Churchill had drafted in former Air India and Pune FC defender Lamine Tamba. Speaking about his new acquisition, the Churchill Brothers coach felt the centre-back needed time togel with his colleagues, though he had his doubts if he could effectively replace the Lebanese, as he commented, “Tamba has to combine well with the other defenders, but there is nobody compared to Bilal.”
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