The Highlanders failed to capitalize on any of their chances in the game.

A Henry Kisekka brace inspired Gokulam Kerala FC to an inspiring 2-0 win over NorthEast United FC in the second qualifier of the Hero Super Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Thursday. The Highlanders created a number of chances but failed to breach Gokulam’s resolute defence which saw them crashing out of the competition, while Gokulam entered the next phase.

Bino George, Gokulam’s head coach, was present in the post-match press conference to address the media and shared his insights on the game, his team and beyond. “I saw the ball possession today. It was 50-50 and we also created more chances today,” he began. “I had said before that my boys can play a very good game here because we played our best games in the last few matches. When the I-League started, my boys had never played in such a big tournament as they had all played in the college-level. In the middle of the season, they understood how to play in such games and the overall tactics. We signed Henry (Kisekka) and Mudde Musa in mid-season and they came and shared their experiences, after which we started playing as a team.”

Gokulam will now face Bengaluru FC in the Pre-quarter finals of the Hero Super Cup, and when asked how he is looking to tackle a formidable Blues side, George replied, “See, this is football. I know Bengaluru FC is a big-budgeted team. They are the best team in India right now, but as I said, my boys do not have a fear factor. They can fight. We will make some different tactics. This is football and all the teams know that. Let’s see what happens. Bengaluru is a tremendous team and is doing great in the last few seasons and now they are in the Hero ISL finals. We are wary of them but not scared. We will try our best. That’s it!”


It was a good contest for the first match- Alfred Fernandes

Henry Kisekka double fires Gokulam into Super Cup after win over toothless NorthEast United

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NorthEast’s woes continue this season and their head coach Avram Grant was quick to agree in the press conference that a lack of finishing from the strikers coupled with bad defending cost them the victory. “I think it was both,” he shared. “From the chances they got, they scored but we couldn’t. To be honest, the team that wanted more won. They probably wanted to win much more than we did. That is my opinion. We should have created more chances and showed more passion.”

On the same strain, he further added, “In the first half of the league, I wasn’t there, but I think, the second half of the league was much better than the first. We dominated most of the games and played well but ended up a little unlucky. As for today, this is not the kind of football I wanted my team to play. There are a lot of things the team needs to do better.”