I-League: East Bengal coach Alejandro Menendez: The referee was bad for us

The Spanish coach blamed the referee for not being fair to his team…

East Bengal suffered their second consecutive defeat in the 2018-19 I-League season as they went down 3-2 to Aizawl FC on Saturday.

The Red and Gold were unlucky not to have been awarded a goal when the ball had clearly crossed the goal-line from a Lalramchullova free-kick but the referee thought otherwise.

Coach Alejandro Menendez blamed the referee for his poor decisions which ultimately cost his side three points. They now trail league leaders Chennai City FC by 10 points although they do have two matches in hand.

“It was a difficult match for us. We did not start well and we improved as the game along. But individual mistakes pushed us down again. A match with so many long balls is not our type of game. I think that in the first half, the referee did not give us a decision. Then at the end of the match, we should have had a penalty which the referee did not call. This type of match with many long balls is why we lost the game.

“The referee was so bad for us, even with cards. All of such decisions changed the match…the disallowed goal also. If we had scored with that free-kick, it would’ve been a different match. The team overcame this decision and we played very well in the second half for 30 minutes and made a comeback. But individual mistakes took us down. The match opened up and became box-to-box. They played well on the counter attack and this is why we lost,” said the experienced coach.

“The referee was bad for us, that much is sure. If some player of izawl would have got a card, they cannot play aggressive. They should have got yellow cards in the first half but they did not. That meant they were allowed to be aggressive. But we got many yellow cards despite not playing aggressive,” he explained further.

The former Buriram United coach stated that his players lost their concentration due to the poor decisions made by the match official.

“If the referee makes mistakes, the players become angry and then they lose concentration and miss chances. All this affected us. I do not like to talk about the referee but his bad decisions were important in the match.

“We always want to play for a win. But two moments - the free-kick disallowed goal and in the second half when we were winning 2-1, we made an individual mistake that changed the course of the match,” he mentioned.

Menendez was positive that East Bengal can move up on the standings and be challenging for the top honours should they win their next three matches.

Article continues below

“We have only played four matches. So, if you win three matches or so, you go top. All of the matches are equal. You can lose all matches and you can win all matches too. The last two matches, we think that we played enough to not lose.

An open end-to-end match is not for us because then we cannot control the game,” he signed off.

East Bengal next face Minerva in Kolkata on December 4th.