NorthEast United suffered a heartache on Wednesday evening as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Bengaluru FC. The Highlanders had taken the lead through Federico Gallego before Chencho Gyeltshen scored late to earn a point for the visitors.
In the first half, a couple of offside calls went against his side and they could have earned a penalty when Xisco Hernandez was seen tugging Bartholomew Ogbeche inside the box.
Coach Eelco Schattorie stated that his side deserved to win three points against Bengaluru FC given that they dominated the proceedings. He also mentioned that the refereeing to an extent influenced the end result, which shouldn’t have been the case.
“I am cooking from inside. I am trying to calm down. If you look at the whole game, there is only one team that should have won, that is us. Not because we created that much chances but we were well-organised against a team that is best in the league. They had literally one shot on goal which the goalkeeper saved. Before the game, I had predicted that if we lose, we will lose from a set-piece, because they have simply more length and power.
“Getting to the consequence of the referee(ing), the linesman literally in front of me, gave a foul (to them) for a push from the back; exactly the same for us and they allowed play (to go on). There were many instances, one such, Reagan (Singh) goes for the header and that should have been a foul hundred per cent. These small moments in the game changes and it gives the advantage to the other team.
“Now, I am not going to blame the referee for losing. I am blaming him for the consequences of their decision-making. The second part is, we have a young team and where one of my youngsters loses the ball. I will never blame him because it is a part of the learning process. It is very, very painful. It is so difficult not to talk about the referee. I don't want to talk about but that has had to be done because it influences the game,” he explained.
Provat Lakra, who put in yet another impressive shift, had to be taken off in the 76th minute after he sprained his ankle. Schattorie expressed his concern over the injury suffered by the 21-year-old.
“It is ridiculous that in two days we have to play ATK. Two days rest! There are two teams in the league, Delhi (Dynamos) first and then us. We have five games in a short time and Delhi had seven. ATK, for instance, has had four days rest or more. I have a small squad. Lakra was doing well. It is the accumulation of fatigue while travelling. In the end, it might influence not having enough time for recovery. His injury doesn't look good so I am worried,” said the former East Bengal coach.
Goalkeeper Pawan Kumar looked shaky at the back for NorthEast and Schattorie was questioned as to why was the custodian playing with his feet when he wasn’t comfortable rather than clearing it to be on the safer side.
“I like to play football but I don't think we have that level. Football is about decision-making. Before the game, I encouraged them with a small video of Manchester City. As long as the opponent is not putting pressure on you, we can play, but as soon as they put some pressure, the goalkeeper and the centre-backs have some difficulties. At the same time, I don't like to play long balls. Pawan has the quality and it comes down to confidence. But, today, he was not very stable,” he reasoned.
The former United SC coach was disappointed that his team missed on two points despite putting in a commendable performance against Bengaluru, whose budget is one of the ‘highest’.
“We have the lowest budget and Bengaluru have one of the highest budgets probably. We can be proud that we have a point. It is painful to lose out on two points with the other teams catching up,” he concluded.