It was a dramatic encounter which saw players and officials get into a fight in the tunnel at half-time over referee's decision to overturn a goal. Three players from each side were sent off and they had to play an eight-a-side game in the second half.
Jamshedpur coach Steve Coppell was not happy with the referee's decision to sent off so many players. He termed the match as a 'farce' and opined that the situation could have been handled in a much better way.
The former Crystal Palace manager said, "I don’t think it was a match as such because of the circumstances. At half-time, it was a mellay. I could not witness it as I was already in the dressing room but when I came out, I got the players back in the dressing room. Then we heard that three players are going to be sent off. I couldn’t understand why they were sent off and then it dissolved into a little bit of a farce.
"The game became touchy in the first half. The second goal, again the referee, I don’t understand. He gave a goal and it looked to me as if Brandon had come off the pitch to retrieve the ball and must have been in an offside position so I felt it must have been offside. But once he has given the goal and took time to make up his mind the game sort of descended into not reality. The evening continued in that way, not reality. From our point of view, it summed by the thunder and lightning. That seemed to be an apt description of the evening. (sic)"
Steve Coppell, who has vast experience of managing several clubs, cited examples from international football where fights broke out between players in the tunnel at half-time.
"You’ll find that throughout the world there are quite a few occasions when there is a scuffle in the tunnel at half-time. But I can't even think of an occasion where somebody then decides to send three players off from either team. The officials got to be questioned because the crowd paid to watch a football match 11v11 but because of something they witnessed 8v8. It’s farce to be honest," said the gaffer.
He continued, "It happens fairly regularly that there are scuffles in the tunnel. The referee could have locked the names in his mind of the players he thought were guilty and make a report after a game. Whether it is a referee or a match commissioner who was involved, they don’t really know. I don’t really want to find out. This is something I am sure will be resolved with the fullness of time.
"I just feel for the spectators who came to watch a 11v11 match. 1-0 at halftime, they had the edge obviously but there was still a game to be played. They come out and have to watch 8v8 for 45 minutes. If 8v8 was such an attractive game they would start a league 8v8 on a full-length pitch. It’s ridiculous. I don’t know how we got into that situation and I don’t really want to know. It's for the officials to sort out. I am sure there will be retribution for the players who have been sent off. I am not sure (if that is) the right punishment."
Subrata Paul was shown a red card in back-to-back matches and incidentally, both were against Goa. In Jamshedpur's last match of ISL, he was sent off for committing a foul. He came back after a one-match ban and has now picked up a red card again.
But Coppell decided to back his goalkeeper and justified his actions. He said, "What happened in the last ISL match against FC Goa was that he misjudged a through ball and that can happen with anybody. If he hadn’t protested for so long, the second goal wouldn’t have been blocked. In a way, it is an example to set for the future if you complain constantly the referee might change his mind! He is justified in complaining if the referee changes his mind. I don’t know what his role was in the half-time mellay. He is a passionate player and he has been my number one all year."