The Spaniard said his team showed a lot of character to beat a strong Mumbai team…

FC Pune City put themselves back in semis contention following a 1-0 win over Mumbai City FC at the Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday. It was the Stallions’ second successive win and put them in fourth spot with 12 points from nine matches in Hero Indian Super League 2016. Eugeneson Lyngdoh came on as a substitute in the second half and scored the only goal of the game in the 89th minute to give Pune all three points.

Pune head coach Antonio Habas was delighted with the result and praised his side’s team spirit. “I am happy for my players as they fought and both the matches (against Atlético de Kolkata and Mumbai) were very similar. In Pune, Mumbai beat us by a small margin and [today was a] similar game as we beat Mumbai here and I am very happy with the spirit of the team and how they played today,” Habas told the media at the post-match press conference.

Mumbai dominated the game for the most part and had a total of nine shots on goal in comparison to Pune’s five. Commenting on his side’s lack of goal-mouth action, Habas said: “My team has a different kind of players, maybe we don’t have the quality of Mumbai’s attacking players but our team is strong and also different. And if we can attack well, we can get by.”

The last time these two teams met news had just broken that Eidur Gudjohnsen was ruled out for the season. Pune went on to replace the Icelandic striker with Mohamed Sissoko as their marquee player and Habas admitted that a lot has changed between now and then. “With Gudjohnsen in the pre-season, we had an attacking player and then the injury happened. Then we had to change our marquee player and our style, and we needed to adapt and we needed more time. At the moment my players are working hard, have sacrificed, have discipline and are doing their best,” the Spaniard said.

Match-winner Lyngdoh, who capped off his first appearance of Hero ISL 2016 with a goal right at the death, also accompanied Habas to the press conference. When asked how it felt to score in his first game back following AFC Cup participation with Bengaluru FC, Lyngdoh said: “I would like to thank the coach for giving me the opportunity to play and I am happy to help the team win and it was something sweet.”

The 30-year-old also commented on the contrast in the standard of play from last season. “Obviously, the league is getting better with time as more players are coming in. And the league table is also tight which shows how competitive the league is,” he said.

Report and Picture © ISL Media