Minerva Punjab FC remained unbeaten in the I-League after three rounds as they defeated Indian Arrows 2-0 at the Athletic Stadium, Bambolim on Tuesday. Ghanaian midfielder William Opoku Asiedu scored a brace to seal full three points for the away side.
Arrows coach Luis Norton de Matos was understandably disappointed after their loss in their second match of the league. The Portuguese coach mentioned that missing three important players (Jeakson Singh, Anwar Ali and Nongdamba Naorem) played a crucial role in their defeat today.
"I'm disappointed because as a coach I would like to always have my best players and take my options as I'm working for the development of football. Three of my players (Jeakson Singh, Anwar Ali and Nongdamba Naorem) could not play tonight who could have been decisive," said Matos.
Luis Norton accused opponents Minerva of time wasting after scoring an early goal in the match. "Minerva played with five foreigners and played in a style that is impossible for me to follow. They scored a good goal and immediately started to take time for their throw-ins and corners. This is not my philosophy of football. I'm working in a completely different way. I accept it because when we come in the I-League, it is to get victory in the sense of gaining experience (for the boys). It's very hard to play against foreign players."
The coach also praised his boys for a spirited show despite the defeat. He stated, "There were a few moments of brilliance and I think we conceded the second goal because we were looking for the equaliser and the attitude of the team (Arrows) was fantastic. Abhijit (Sarkar) could have equalised in the first half and twice in the second half. If we could have drawn early in the second half, we could have won the game because they were looking tired."
Matos was clearly unhappy as he reiterated how much he missed the three players in this match given that they were on loan from Minerva FC.
"My disappointment is that I would have liked after winning a week ago to lose with my ideas than others' ideas. I was obliged to play without three players. There were players on the bench but some of them never played with me. For example, if I wanted to change a defender, Sumit (Rathi) never played with me. The defeat is normal but I'm disappointed because I think we can play for the result with all players available to play."
Minerva coach Wangkhem Khogen Singh though, refused to believe that the presence of the three players would made a difference in today's result. "Maybe a slight difference but I don't think it would have changed the result," said the Minerva coach.
On the match, Singh opined, "I knew that it will be a tight fight because they are the fittest as youngsters. We know how they play on the counter so we tried to stop them from doing that. We blocked the play from Amarjit (Singh Kiyam) and we also tried to block Aniket Jadhav in attack."