Any references to an underlying flow of bad blood between Marcos Falopa, Brazilian coach of East Bengal and Ryuji Sueoka, his Japanese lynchpin have been washed away emphatically after the latter's second-half strike helped his side edge out a 1-0 advantage to Indonesia for the second leg.
This was the fifth consecutive Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Cup home win on the trot for East Bengal, setting an individual record for an Indian team in the continental tournament.
Sueoka who came on as a substitute, was all praise for his team and especially a worthy ex-coach. “Trevor played a big role in taking East Bengal to this far. That I have been able to play the AFC Cup quarter final is because of the hard work of Morgan. This goal is for him,” praised the medio looking snug in a post-match presser.
Highlighting the importance of the goal, the midfielder also believed Falopa was right in his decisions all along, “I have been in India for sometime now and this is probably the best goal of my career here. After I came back from the injury, I have played for just 10 minutes. That too, in a Calcutta Football League match. Right now I can play for 60 minutes. But slowly I will be able to play a full match. The coach took the right decision by keeping me on the bench which I respect,” elucidated the Japanese.
“I do not understand why people are saying I am yet to regain full fitness. We are trying our best. For me it’s a new club, a new set-up. So it will take time for me to settle down. Falopa also is new to everything here. We are slowly coming to grips with Falopa’s idea of football. Give us some time,” explained Sueoka, who also took pains to express his teammates desire to play well for their new coach.
He shyly slipped away from giving assurances about whether he’d be able to maintain his goal scoring prowess, admitting, “We have strikers like (Edeh) Chidi, (James) Moga, Baljit Sahni, (Joaquim) Abranches, (Nilendra) Dewan. So primarily it’s their job.
“I am a midfielder who has to defend and build attacks. If I score then nothing like it, but if I do not nobody will put a gun on my head.”
The midfielder believes that Semen will shed their cautious skin at home. Warning his teammates about an impeding all-out offensive from the home side, he advised, “At Padang they will come hard at us. It’s their home match. We will have play out of our skins if we want to see us in the semis.”Not to be left out, the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) general secretary, Kushal Das, congratulated and said,"On behalf of the All India Football Federation, I would like to congratulate East Bengal for their win in the AFC Cup Quarter Final. I would also like to wish them all the luck for their trip to Indonesia on the 24th of September." .
Bengal will travel to the Haji Agus Salim stadium, on the 24th of September to play in the second leg of the AFC Cup quarter final.
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