East Bengal were held to a 1-1 draw by Churchill Brothers at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday evening. The Red and Gold brigade went behind after Willis Plaza put the visitors into the lead. However, Kassim Aidara scored an equalizer which helped his side pick an important point.
The Kolkata outfit trail league leaders Chennai City FC by two points and will have to hope that the southern side drop points in their final four matches of the season.
“I think that my team played well. We deserved to win today. A the end of the season, we will know how important this point was,” said coach Alejandro Menendez.
“We have seen that today was a tough match. One of the teams didn’t come to play. They only came to waste time and fight. When you have five players on the ball and chances to counter-attack and the opponent fouls you to end it and nothing happens, you can see which team wants to win more.
“They stopped our play many times but you can see that in the first half, we had three clear chances to score. We tried our best to win but the only difference is that we only scored once,” he took a dig at Churchill Brothers’ tactics.
Menendez opted to field Toni Dovale instead of Jaime Santos against Churchill. The former Bengaluru FC winger once again had a poor outing and it was the introduction of Santos which saw the home side up the ante.
“One is that we played many matches continuously and the second being he wasn’t fit. The third reason is that I choose the first eleven. If I don’t pick Toni (Dovale) maybe you’ll ask me on why he is not playing and Enrique (Esqueda) is,” he reasoned.
Menendez opted not to comment on the refereeing as the Spanish coach looked incensed on the sidelines owing to some of the calls given by the match official.
“I prefer not to comment on the refereeing. I think everyone could see the level of refereeing,” he said sarcastically.
East Bengal now have to play catch-up once again as they missed out on a chance to go level on points with Chennai City FC.
“We are only two points off the top. We have four matches to finish. I think we’ll keep on pushing for points and that we will fight on till the last game for the championship,” said the experienced coach.
Churchill coach Petr Gigiu stated that his team could have won the game had the referee not awarded a free-kick to East Bengal from which they scored the equalizer.
“It’s not my right to talk about that because he can’t talk about football or chances because his goal was because of our mistake. His team never tried to score from the chances and I don’t know how he can say something like that.”