A solitary Ryuji Sueoka goal helped East Bengal go past a resolute Semen Padang side in an AFC Cup quarterfinal match played at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata.
Marcos Falopa, the coach of the victorious side was glad to secure a win but conceded that there was room for development in many departments.
“I am happy with the three points. This was a game against a strong side. I am happy with the way the boys fought out in the middle. I have played against Indonesian sides when I was the coach of Malaysia. They are all very good sides. You can’t expect to score 4-to-5 goals in these types of matches,” Falopa remarked.
He chose not to start with Sueoka and it was the Japanese who came in from the bench to make the difference.
“I thought that Sueoka needed some more match fitness. Now, he has proved his worth, he will fly to Indonesia and start in the return leg. I think the inclusion of Joaquim Abranches and Sueoka changed the game. (James) Moga tried hard and he is improving in training every day. I know I have no Maradona or Lionel Messi in my team, but I am happy with the way footballers like (Cavin) Lobo and Chidi (Edeh) played,” he remarked.
Falopa hit out at certain sections of the media for trying to stir a rift between him and Sueoka.
“He (Sueoka) is my good friend. Only that I thought he needs a bit of match practice. The press is trying to make issues out of it,” he said giving vent to his anger.
The Red and Gold’s will travel to Indonesia to face Semen Padang on Tuesday and the coach sounded hopeful of their chances to make it into the semifinals.
“We have to practice hard in the future. I have noted down a few points about the opponent team, which I can’t reveal before you right now. We need to work on those,” Falopa signed off.
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