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I-League 2018-19: 'It's like war in Srinagar,' says Alejandro Menendez

20:10 GMT+4 25/02/2019
Alejandro Menendez East Bengal
East Bengal have fallen back in the title race after dropping points against Aizawl FC...

East Bengal dropped crucial points as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Aizawl FC in a 2018-19 I-League clash at the Salt Lake stadium, Kolkata, on Monday.

The Kolkata giants are now on 33 points from 17 matches while Chennai City are on 40 points having played an extra game.

The Red and Golds' coach, Alejandro Menendez, has admitted the league leaders find themselves in an advantageous position.

"The championship is very difficult. We have a very few possibilities but the chances for Chennai are easy after today's draw," he said.

"Nothing was wrong today (Monday). Only wrong was we didn't try to score. In football, you need to score, doesn't matter how many chances you make. Our defence played well. They gave them only one chance to score. I don't know if that was offside or not," the Spaniard spoke on his side's result against Aizawl.

With three matches left in their campaign, Menendez added, "Our motivation remains to get all the remaining points on offer. Play good football and if the situation comes, keep fighting for the championship. We did well to close the gap with Chennai City and we have dropped some now.

"If the players felt the pressure, then they would have disintegrated on the pitch. But that is not the case with us. We played the ball around well but the only issue was we did not score."

Meanwhile, the AIFF (All India Football Federation) League Committee have decided that Real Kashmir's home match against East Bengal on February 28 will be played in New Delhi following security concerns to stage the fixture in Srinagar.

"It's like a war in Srinagar. It's common sense not to play there. Both teams can play only focused on the game. If you would have played in Srinagar, other things would have been heavy on the minds of the players from both teams and not football," the East Bengal coach gave his take.

"My team did not go down after seeing yesterday's result in Chennai. But, it's true that if they would not have won, there would have been an extra zeal within us," he reiterated.

At the same time, the 1-1 draw against East Bengal has left Aizawl FC coach Standly Rosario content. "(I am) happy with the performance. Playing against East Bengal at Salt Lake Stadium is a big match. We took the lead tonight and we could have gone to win the game."

There was a controversial moment in the match when East Bengal goalkeeper Rakshit Dagar released the ball and Ansumana Kromah intercepted it to slot the ball into the net but the goal was disallowed.

Asked for his opinion on the same, Rosario stated, "(I) don't have any clue why that is not a goal. I don't understand how the referee denied the goal. I don't understand on what basis he denied the goal but I have to respect it. We could have gone 2-0 up.