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We didn’t control the match at all, claims Mohun Bagan asst. coach Manuel Cascallena

Published at :April 1, 2024 at 11:42 AM
Modified at :April 1, 2024 at 11:42 AM
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(Courtesy : ISL media)

Uttiyo Sarkar

Manuel Cascallena also assured Mohun Bagan are still in the race to win the ISL Shield.

Mohun Bagan saw their Indian Super League (ISL) shield-winning chances take a major hit after a shocking 3-2 loss to Chennaiyin FC at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata on Sunday (March 31). Despite taking the lead through Joni Kauko in the first half, the Mariners failed to put the game to bed and were made to pay for it.

Chennaiyin FC roared back through goals from Jordan Murray (72’) and Rob Edwards (80’) before Dimitri Petratos equalized (90+2’). However, a late goal from Irfan Yadwad helped Chennaiyin get a huge win and deal the Mariners their first loss under Antonio Habas.

Manuel Cascallana reflects on the loss

Incidentally, Habas was missing for this game due to an illness. His assistant coach, Manuel Cascallena, oversaw the loss and took to the media after the game. The Spaniard couldn’t provide the best analysis for the loss, as he remarked: “It’s a difficult analysis for the game. We didn’t play a good match, even though we were winning in the first half it was a difficult and strange situation.”

“We didn’t control the match at all and that wasn’t good for us. After they took the lead, Joni Kauko asked to be substituted and Armando had to slot into his place. Now is not the time for excuses, but to analyze on how to improve. We have six days and need to improve before the next game,” Cascallena added.

Reason for late Chennaiyin FC winner

When asked about what caused the last-gasp winner for the away side, Cascallena replied, “The players wanted to win, but a draw was also quite perfect. Kiyan played a throw-in, and the ball was quickly to Thapa but we lost the ball in midfield and they played an inside pass into the final third. We were attacking, but this is football it is what it is. It’s better to draw than lose, that is for sure.”

Are Mohun Bagan still capable of winning the ISL shield?

Despite this defeat, the Mohun Bagan coach is still optimistic about his side’s chances of winning the ISL Shield title over Mumbai City in the final stretch. He explained: “Of course, this will be more difficult but it is still in our hands. We have three games remaining and we’ll be champions if we win nine points, we’ll be the champions.”

“I said before the game that if we get 10 points we’d be champions, but now we can only get nine and will meet Mumbai in the last game. It’s in our hands, only Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City can say that the title race is in their hands. That’s the truth,” he also quipped.

Latest update on Antonio Habas

The Spaniard also gave an update on why Antonio Habas was absent for this game and on his health, saying, “In the last two days, he is suffering from flu and high fever sometimes. He’s resting in the hotel, he was not strong enough to come with the team and he felt weak. Doctors wanted him to rest yesterday and that’s the reason. Hopefully, he’ll recover tomorrow and be available for training on Tuesday. He’s the leader of the team, we need him 100% and everyone knows that. Hopefully, we’ll have him as soon as possible.”

What does Mohun Bagan need to improve?

When asked about which areas Mohun Bagan must improve heading into the final matches of the season, Cascallena stated, “We need to improve in all the areas, we must improve as a team. It’s not just about the defense, midfield or strikers. We will analyze, and we will talk with the players inside the dressing room and on the pitch. We’ll try to solve the problems because it’s in the interest of the entire team.”

The Mariners are back in action on Saturday (April 6) when they travel to face Punjab FC in a must-win match to keep their ISL shield dreams alive.

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