We still have a chance to win the title, we must have that belief- Khalid Jamil
Written by: I-League
The Red and Gold boss was speaking after their chances were dealt a blow after dropping two more points at home to leaders Minerva Punjab.
Katsumi Yusa’s penalty miss in the 50th minute left Kingfisher East Bengal high and dry with just a point against Minerva Punjab FC as they played out a 2-2 draw in a I-League game at the Barasat Stadium on Tuesday.
Minerva scored twice through Sukhdev Singh (20′) and Chencho Gyeltshen (33′) in the first half itself. Jobby Justin started a comeback by scoring in the 59th minute as second-half substitute Brandon Vanlalremdika equalized in the 88th minute.
Analysing the result, the Kolkata side’s head coach Khalid Jamil stated that his players were well aware of Minerva Punjab’s attacking nature of football. Although things did not go as per plan for Jamil, he refused to give up hope in the race for the title.
‘’I came into the game knowing that Minerva (Punjab) were a better side considering the previous few results. We knew this will be a stiff challenge. We still have a chance and we must have that belief. Don’t compare this match with the derby; this happens. Things did not go right this time but hopefully will in the future,’’ he commented while expressing his displeasure following the two points dropped on home soil.
New recruit and former Mohun Bagan striker Ansumana Kromah made his debut at the Barasat Stadium in the 42nd minute. Speaking about Kromah and former Chennaiyin FC player Dudu Omagbemi, Khalid said, ‘’It was my idea to bring them into the club. I take full responsibility and please don’t blame the officials.’’
Yusa took the blame for missing the spot-kick awarded to the Red and Gold in the 50th minute which could have turned the result in their favour. The Japanese attacker claimed that the Kolkata outfit’s efforts to clinch the title won’t stop despite the setback.
‘’Conceding an early goal was unfortunate. Maybe if I could score the penalty, we would have won 3-2 but we can never give up. I take the blame for that miss. I assure the supporters that none of the players or the management is going to give up on the title race. It is not over until it is. We are going to fight until the end of the season and I hope to see more crowds come in to see the game,’’ concluded the 29-year-old.
Regarding the penalty which was denied on the stroke of half-time when Guy Eric Dano trapped Katsumi from behind and it was a genuine one, Khalid looked distressed with the decision as he said, “These kind of decisions can change the total nature of the game. Who knows if we would have won that penalty and the result would have been 3-2. Although, Katsumi missed one but it happens in football and I don’t blame the referee at all.”
Meanwhile, Minerva Punjab head coach Khogen Singh discussed the penalty decision which was given against his side when Laldanmawia Ralte was brought down by Kassim Aidara inside the 18-yard-box. ‘’I don't know if that was a penalty. We are in this position because we deserve to be. We can only go forward from here but there are still a lot of matches left to play,’’ he concluded.
In a related development, East Bengal supporters protested against the officials and Alvito D’Cunha who plays an integral part in team building. They chanted “Go back Alvito and Nitu Sarkar (top official).” Even Jamil was not spared from the protesters’ ire.
East Bengal next face Indian Arrows on 4th February from 5:30 pm at the same venue which is must win game for them, while Minerva Punjab travel to Goa to face a spirited Churchill Brothers on 2nd February at Tilak Maidan.
Published: Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:28 PM IST