Indian Arrows succumbed to a 2-1 loss against NEROCA FC at the Khuman Lampak Stadium in Imphal on Friday. Head coach Luis Norton de Matos was not disturbed by the loss and instead chose to focus on the positives from the game.
"We lost 2-0 in the 1st half but we won 1-0 in second, that gives us the confidence to travel to Shillong. For us, it is not a scandal to lose this game but the people understood that these boys have a good attitude and can create good movement with the ball," said Matos.
But the Portuguese agreed that his opponents were deserving winners at the end of 90 minutes.
"I would have liked to go 0-0 at half-time or level on goals but two goals changed the game. There was a good reaction from the team in 2nd half. NEROCA deserved to win the game but Arrows showed very good character," stated Matos.
It was a homecoming for local boys Boris Singh and Nongdamba Naorem, both of whom were cheered by the Manipuri crowd.
"It is a sign that the public recognises them. The World Cup was important for that. They are the sons of the region. It was fantastic for the players to feel at home and as a coach, it was a good feeling watching my players enjoy this game," expressed the former Benfica B coach.
Matos went on to praise Jeakson Singh's effort on the pitch as he was initially doubtful for this game.
"Jeakson was in doubt till yesterday, he sacrificed to play in this ground. He played this match like a training match. Sanjeev might not recover but he has never missed a match since the World Cup. Boris had cramps," informed Matos.
Gift Raikhan was a happy man after his side bounced back to winning ways.
"Winning is always a good feeling. We got the three points which are important and I am happy that we keep our momentum going on. The Indian Arrows lads played with good fighting spirit and are wonderful in every department. We dominated and our attack line was successful today," said Khan after the match.
"I cannot promise that we will win the next match but I can promise that we will work hard with a good plan," said the NEROCA coach.