NEROCA FC were dealt their first home loss of the I-League 2017-18 season after going down 0-2 to Shllong Lajong on Wednesday.
With this loss, Gift Raikhan’s men stay one point behind league leaders Minerva Punjab FC in second spot but the NEROCA tactician believes that it could have a positive impact in their quest for the I-League title.
“Every match is building up the pressure. I hope my team will do well. We lost the first match and then we did not lose for a long time. Maybe my players relaxed a little. I think today’s loss will become the stepping stone for us to become champions,” he said at the post-match press-conference.
Raikhan took the blame for the loss instead and praised his players’ efforts
“First of all I want to say that we are sorry for losing at home for the first time. It was hard luck for us, the plan which we had was not a success. It was my mistake. The coach takes the full blame because all the players were playing excellently. They fought, worked hard and the team spirit was great,” he explained.
“Maybe I was wrong today because I changed some things after conceding two goals. The planned strategy was not a success. I didn’t say this before but I think this team will be champion now,” he added.
Alison Kharsyntiew, (Shillong Lajong assistant coach) on the other hand, was delighted with a much needed three points after his side’s recent struggles.
“Yes I am very happy because the whole team did their job. It will have a big impact because this win will give the boys some much needed confidence because so far we have not done very well. Hopefully next game they will take this confidence,” he stated.
The assistant coach conceded that the home side had the majority of the possession but said that the game was all about taking the chances.
“When we lost to NEROCA at home, we had most of the ball possession and controlled the game. They had one chance and they scored. Same thing happened here today. Today NEROCA had most of the possession and were in control but we got two chances and we took them. It is all about the chances,” he stressed.
Goal-scorer and man-of-the-match Abdoulaye Koffi was equally delighted with the win.
“I am happy but this is team work. I am also happy for my friend Saihou (Jagne) for his first goal. I am mostly happy for the team because it all about team-work. Before we came here, they had beaten us in front of our own home fans through a last minute goal. So yeah we came here to take the three points,” he said.