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ISL 2018-19 Final: Sergio Lobera - Anyone could have won

19:05 GMT 17/03/2019
Bengaluru FC vs FC Goa
Ahmed Jahouh's sending off in the extra time was the turning point of the match, felt FC Goa boss Sergio Lobera…

FC Goa failed to win the Indian Super League (ISL) title on their second attempt as they went down to Bengaluru FC courtesy of Rahul Bheke’s 117th-minute goal.

The Gaurs fought neck to neck with the Blues but failed to execute the job once again after 2015 when they lost to Chennaiyin in the final.

Spanish coach Sergio Lobera pointed out that defensive midfielder Ahmed Jahouh’s sending off in the extra time was the key moment of the game.

He said, “The key moment of the match was when we went one man down in the extra time. I think it was a very tight game and it was going to be a matter of small details. The red card was a big handicap for us.”

The former FC Barcelona youth coach refused to believe that Bengaluru FC had restricted them from playing their natural game. He said, “I think Bengaluru was not better than us. Also, I think we were not better than Bengaluru. It was a very tight final and it was tough losing the game.

“Bengaluru did not restrict our natural game. We performed as we wanted to. We have played a very good game and I am very proud of the work done by my players. We were facing a great team and for me, anyone could have won this game.”

The Spaniard complimented the organisers for conducting a quality league like the ISL. “To be honest, ISL is a very organised competition and I am very happy to be a part of it. I want to congratulate everyone for organising such a good league,” said Lobera.

The Gaurs boss refused to comment on him being linked with the coach’s job of the Indian national team. He said, “It is always good to be linked with a national team especially a great country like India but I still have a contract with FC Goa.”

Lobera was happy to see one of his team’s developmental player Saviour Gama performing at the biggest stage after being introduced as a substitute for injured Mandar Rao Desai.

He said, “It is obviously sad when a player gets injured because every player was looking forward to playing the final. But we introduced for the second time this season, one of our developmental players (Saviour Gama). I want to congratulate him as he did a great job today. He has shown how mature he is.”

The FC Goa head coach congratulated his team for a wonderful season and suggested that they are shifting their focus on the Super Cup now.

“Till today we were focusing just on the ISL. From tomorrow onwards we will start working for the Super Cup. I told my boys in the dressing room that I am proud of the team and their performance throughout the season. I am also very sad that we could not bring the trophy to Goa,” Lobera suggested.