News Live Scores

I-League 2017: Paulo Meneses unhappy with officiating, Khogen Singh bemoans altitude and artificial turf

16:40 GMT 27/12/2017
William Lalnunfela Paulo Meneses East Bengal Aizawl FC I-League 2017/2018
Both set of coaches were left ruing certain aspects of the game after Aizawl FC beat Minerva Punjab...

Aizawl FC brought an end to Minerva Punjab’s unbeaten run in I-League 2017-18 season after a 2-1 victory at home on Wednesday.

Aizawl tactician Paulo Meneses was delighted with his side converting the numerous chances they created.

“I think that we deserved to win the match. We deserved to win the last match too because we controlled the game, created chances and could have scored. The difference today is we created a lot of chances and scored two goals,” the Portuguese said.

There was a moment of controversy in the first-half with the scores tied at 0-0 when the home side’s Afghan defender Masih Saighani put the ball into the net only for the referee to blow his whistle. He was penalized for a foul on Nigeria’s Kareem Omolaja a few seconds earlier.

“In my opinion, it was a goal. They jumped for the ball together and Kareem won the ball and Masih scored at the second post so it should have stood,” he remarked.

The coach expressed his displeasure at the officiating in the game despite his side’s win.

“If they (Minerva) kick, the referee does not control the game by showing a yellow card. If they delay a throw-in, the referee does nothing to control it too,” he bemoaned.

The home side conceded a late goal to allow the visitors a glimmer of hope in the dying minutes and the Portuguese attributed the error to a lack of communication.

“The goal that we conceded was a mistake. It was a breakdown in communications, it can happen sometimes,” he said.

The Aizawl coach has brought in a lot of youngsters and he said that they deserve time to gain experience.

“We have a young team. They have quality but they need experience. If you see other teams, I don’t see one kid. I don’t see, that’s my honest opinion,” he said, taking a swipe at his rivals.

Meneses had some special words for the Aizawl support on Wednesday, saying it was the best he had seen so far.

“Amazing crowd today. I think it was the best crowd. I told my players to enjoy the moment because the crowd deserves it. Even if they win or lose, the crowd deserves some enjoyment,” he pointed out.

His counterpart Khogen Singh said that defeat was a fair result but he added that altitude and the artificial turf at Aizawl had put his players at a disadvantage.

“We deserve (to lose) but we are facing two problems here. One is the topography of the areas. Most of the boys have played in the plains at home and over here it is at higher altitude. They are not used to it so it is tough."

“The other is the ground. They have never played on a turf before and the pace of the game is a problem,” he added.

The Minerva coach said that despite the defeat, confidence in his side was high.

“Defeat is tough but we still have the confidence to pick up three points in our next match,” he stated.