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We're going to fight till the end, announces Sergio Lobera after victory over Kerala Blasters

Published at :April 20, 2024 at 12:16 AM
Modified at :April 20, 2024 at 12:16 AM
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(Courtesy : ISL Media)

Rutvij Joshi

The Odisha FC boss wants to win the ISL Trophy.

In a captivating showdown at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar, Sergio Lobera’s Odisha FC orchestrated a remarkable comeback to clinch victory against Kerala Blasters in the first playoff encounter of the ISL 2023-24 season. Initially, it was Fedor Cerynch who broke the deadlock, netting the first goal in the 67th minute to put the Blasters in the lead.

However, their advantage was ruled out as Diego Mauricio’s late equalizer in regulation time leveled the playing field. As the game extended into extra-time, Odisha seized the opportunity to turn the tide in their favor, with a decisive goal from Isak Vanlalruatfela sealing the deal. This impressive victory propels the Juggernauts into an eagerly anticipated two-legged semi-final tie against the newly crowned Shield winners, Mohun Bagan.

Sergio Lobera spoke to the media after the game and here is what he had to say.

Changes made after Kerala Blasters first goal

Odisha FC created history by qualifying for the semi-finals for the very first time in their history. Head coach Sergio Lobera seemed elated with the result as he said, “We are very happy for our fans. I am very happy because these players deserve to play in the semi-finals. This club deserves to be there. I think the team showed character, belief in the end, during all of the season, and today in the most important game to create history again, to reach the semi-finals in this way. “

He further went on and mentioned, “For me as a coach, I am very happy and very proud of my players, because it’s not easy to play these kinds of games. Also, Kerala had chances and small details; it’s possible to change everything. Managing the situations during some parts of the game was key in getting this achievement for the club, not only for us but also for the supporters.”

“I think the environment today in the stadium was amazing and they deserve to be in this semi-finals. We are going to fight till the end to get something important for this club, hopefully the ISL trophy,” he concluded his answer.

Changes made after Kerala Blasters first goal

Kerala Blasters scored their first goal in the 67th minute yet the Juggernauts came from behind to win the tie. Sergio Lobera revealed that he had already prepared a strategy if his side trailed in the game and would take risks in such a scenario.

He stated, “Always before you start the game, you are trying to think about some different plans. One of my plans was if the situation is the worst situation, (we are) losing the game, we need to take risks. It’s about the coach, but merit is from the players coming from the bench. They did an amazing job. In terms of the decisions too, I was convinced because it’s a little bit of a miracle. Diego didn’t start today because he got an injury four days ago and the first report is out after 15 days. The medical staff, fitness coach and the player did an amazing job.“

He added, “At the end, he played and even scored one goal. I am very happy with the performance of the players both who were in the first XI and those coming from the bench. Some of them deserve this moment. Players like Thoiba for example, was not getting chances or minutes and to have the opportunity to play today and to give us something is a good example. The players are working very well and they are ready for the challenge when the team needs them.”

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