Arthur Papas would rue his luck as Dempo SC were unlucky not to have picked three points from their game against Pune FC as the Goan side dominated the proceedings for much of the game which ended in a 1-1 draw.
Once again the Golden Eagles created several goal scoring chances but failed to convert all, except one which came back to haunt them when Mustafa Riga scored the equalizer within five minutes of Dempo taking the lead.
"We are creating a number of chances and not scoring so many goals. But even one goal is enough to win a game. So, when you go 1-0 in front, the next five minutes are very critical and we lost a bit of concentration. But I am really proud of them because even in the last minute, you could see them searing forward in numbers. And Pune at one stage was really waiting for the game to end because we created chance after chance, whether that is from a set-piece or from a fullback overlapping. They gave everything till the end of the game," said Papas.
The coach used all his substitutions in the second half, namely Jewel Raja, Alwyn George and Gabriel Fernandes, around the hour mark and all of them had a positive impact as Dempo didn’t allow Pune a foot in the game, especially in the latter stages.
"The mobility was the biggest thing and in the second half when we made the changes with Gabriel (Fernandes) and Alwyn (George) coming on, we looked like a very mobile team. We played Beto at the point and he is a great player to play the ball to because he doesn't lose it. Also, he has got all the tricks in his boots as well as we saw today and that would have been the goal of the decade if it went in," Papas remarked on Beto’s attempt, which could have been similar to Dennis Bergkamp’s goal against Newcastle United from the 2001-02 season.
The shrewd tactician conceded that it was not all rosy for his team in the first half, but they tried to sort out things during the break.
"First half wasn't probably as quick. The tempo was as high as I would like to see. We changed tactically because we knew they were playing in a 4-3-3 system and we had to play with a diamond midfield. It worked not too bad to be honest. We were comfortable defensively with the tempo not scaring us. So, we discussed on a couple of areas in the halftime we could improve on," he told.
The coach however was all praise for the fight shown by his team against a resolute side like Pune FC.
"I made five changes from the last game and that's a lot. Also I think that we were not outplayed in the last game (against United SC) and today so many new players come in and we still look like the same team. We still have two hard games before the halfway point but the boys are working hard and fighting for each other. I think that's a united team out there," told the Australian gaffer of the Goan side.
"In the second half I didn't play a diamond midfield if you noticed correctly. Then after the change, we played 4-3-2-1. Gabriel and Alwyn were free and they ran every way as they are mobile and love to run towards the goal. So, I gave them the free role and Beto standing in front of them," he told.
The coach also called for more accuracy in finishing from the team in order to climb up the points ladder.
"I just think that I have got 11 players on the field who all have got two legs and one heart and it's always fine to use them all together. The midfield co-ordination was not that good in the first half, but it got better in the second half. And Pune is also a very good team. They are in the top of the ladder and we are not. But I still think we can reach there if we can get some sort of consistency in finishing," Papas signed off.
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