Former I-League champions Aizawl FC crashed out of the AFC Cup 2018 after managing only a draw in their fourth match of the Group E against Bangladesh's Abahani Limited on Wednesday.
Emeka Darlington converted a penalty to put the home side in front in the 31st minute but midfielder Andrei Ionescu restored parity for the Indian outfit in the 65th minute and helped his side finally register a point in their maiden AFC Cup appearance.
Mathematically, Aizawl are out of contention for a playoff spot as they now have just a point from four matches. It has been a terrible debut for Santosh Kashyap's boys at the continental level but the coach suggested that he is proud of his boys.
He said, "My players made me proud. They always try to win the matches whenever they take the field. We had a couple of injuries and since our squad is not big enough it was difficult."
When asked about their experience from their debut appearance in AFC Cup, the coach opined, "For a club like Aizawl FC, playing in the AFC Cup is a big thing. We have learnt that we have to improve in management as well as in the technical part.
"Playing in the I-League helps a lot. I don't think that the AFC Cup has much of a difference from our country's league."
The former Mumbai FC coach suggested that they have already started planning for next season. "We have already started planning for the next season and started talking with some players."