Churchill Brothers' assistant coach Alfred Fernandes says he expected a tough game on Wednesday, in Ludhiana, after The Red Machines drew 0-0 to bottom-placed team Minerva Punjab in a round six I-League clash, at the Guru Nanak Stadium.
In his post-match debrief, Fernandes stated, "I was expecting a hard match from them after being down and out against East Bengal, in the last match. They came hard at us."
The Goan also expressed his disappointment after the referee opted to only caution Minerva defender Loveday Enyinnaya for a foul on Anthony Wolfe around the penalty box. The referee also deemed the incident to have taken place just outside the box and awarded Churchill a free-kick.
"There could have been a decision in our favour with the penalty shout (when Wolfe was fouled by Loveday) but I have no complaints. It could have been a turning point in the game," he expressed before adding further.
"I think the foul happened inside the box but I respect the official’s decision. If it was not inside the box, it was a tackle from the last defender. So it could have been a red card," he weighed in.
The home team coach Surinder Singh played down the incident. "I can’t say anything about the penalty decision. The other day, we had a strong penalty appeal which was not given. The referees have made a decision," he stated.
The 43-year-old also claimed that his team should have won the game and praised his wards for putting up an improved show after being taken to task by East Bengal in the previous game. "We were lacking in many aspects in the last game against East Bengal which we lost 5-0. So, we tried to improve and we had our chances in this game, especially in the first half. But we didn’t get the goal that we deserved," he commented.
"We wanted the players to move forward to get the goals and create chances. They tried to do that and we have a point to show for it. It is an improvement after four consecutive defeats. Definitely, we can perform better.," he concluded.