The Gaurs landed in the city hours before the game and the contest had a very late finish.
Two-time champions ATK were held to a 1-1 draw by FC Goa in Indian Super League (ISL) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Robbie Keane scored for the Kolkata outfit second match in a row, only for the league’s current top-scorer Ferran Corominas to cancel that out and ensure the spoils were shared. The visitors had some inconvenience while arriving as they only managed to rush from the airport to the stadium in time for the match.
Speaking to the media during the post-match press conference was ATK head coach Teddy Sheringham, who voiced his disappointment at not being able to make full use of the Gaurs’ disadvantage. “We put our foot on the gas in the first five to ten minutes and we got an early lead,” he inferred. “But we’ve had a rough day as well. We were undecided when we were going to be playing, if we were going to be playing. It’s been a tough couple of days. I think it showed in both teams’ performance but it’s been a tiring day. It was hard work for a lot of players out there.”
The Englishman further added that given the scenario, either team could have won. “It’s been a frustrating day,” he stated. “I think it showed on everybody. Not just their team but our team as well. It was a hard day at the office but I think overall kind of pleased with the point. I think they showed some very good signs. They’re a very good footballing team. We knew that would be the case. We matched up to them as much as we could. Either team could’ve won it. It ended as a happy draw for both teams.”
The former Manchester United striker also praised the passionate ATK fans for staying back late to support the home team. “They (the fans) were fantastic!” Sheringham exclaimed. “We were expecting a big crowd today after the results that we’ve had and winning games always bring confidence. I’m delighted that many stayed back. They could have thrown in the towel after being told for the third time that it was going to be delayed. They stuck with us and we are very thankful for that.”
Speaking to the media during the post-match press conference was the Gaurs’ head coach Sergio Lobera, who seemed a little unhappy about how the day panned out for his team. “Never in my life have I seen a situation like today in professional football!” he explained. “I think the ISL is a great competition and it doesn’t deserve matches like today. The only thing I can be content today is none of my players was injured because today was an incredible day. Yesterday, we took a flight that had to turn back due to an emergency landing.”
“This morning we tried to do the same thing again, and again we had a technical fault and couldn’t leave. We had to come here running because if we didn’t we would have lost the three points. We had to train in our travel kits, we had to change and get ready in our match kits in five minutes. So it’s obvious that we ended up conceding a goal in the first four minutes.”
The Spaniard was also quick to praise his players for the vigour they showcased against ATK. “I think the players put in a lot of strength – mental strength and physically when they were out there,” he said. “They did everything that they possibly could. When we go out there we play for pride and we represent the people of Goa when we come here.”
Lobera also, seemed satisfied with the result and threw some light on the team’s way forward. “We had a good game,” he opined. “There were a few opportunities towards the end which we should have probably taken, but given the circumstances, ultimately we weren’t able to give our all. Probably in different circumstances, we would be able to do that. We have a game today, we have one on the sixth and we have one following that. It’s just not today that’s going to be affected, even the games that are coming up.”