Hougang United coach Nenad Bacina acknowledged that his team was not up to par during the quarter final match against SAFFC but he also took time to praise his players for their overall effort.
“In a certain way, the game wasn’t nice, in terms of performance from both sides," he said.
"Tonight, we did not play as we usually do. But still we managed to hold SAFFC till we conceded the penalty towards the end of the game. Of course, it’s difficult to judge whether it a penalty or not.
“I was telling my players that they have to ‘chin up’ from this defeat and also congratulate them for their overall performance in the League Cup, which I think they did well.”
Bacina pointed to several mistakes and also situations that were beyond their control that had greatly contributed to their dismal performance in the game.
“Defensively we did well but the only problem we had in this game was that, we were not able to hold onto the ball and keep possession.
“I am not trying to find excuses but maybe the pitch condition affects our play too. We are a team that likes to play the ground passes as our players are good in that type of play.
“The condition of the pitch did not allow us to develop our normal game. Definitely it affected both teams but as SAFFC is the home side, they managed to adapt to the pitch better than us.”
His opposite number, Richard Bok, was a relieved man as he felt that his team did not play well in the earlier stages of the game but were fortunately awarded a late penalty.
“It’s a very scrappy game, especially in the first half," said Bok.
"Although we controlled the game, we did not create many chances in the first half.
“I think that we played better in the second half. We crafted a few chances but just could not put the ball into the net. I think that overall we had more chances than Hougang United.
“Finally we had that good chance by Fazrul Nawaz which was saved by the player's hand on the line. I thought that from the penalty, Tatsuro Inui could have converted it but luckily Shimpei Sakurada was there to go for the rebound.”
Finally, Bok hoped that his team's performance in the next game would be better, especially in terms of scoring goals: "We need to be more clinical in front of goal and convert those chances from the next game onwards.”