Lobera rues missed chances, Popovic hails 'important victory'
Written by: Amber Leo Pereira
It was a rare defeat for the Gaurs as the Stallions continued their fine form on the road.
FC Pune City brought a halt to FC Goa’s fine run in the Indian Super League after they blanked them 0-2 in front of a 18600-strong crowd at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, Goa. Emilino Alfaro and Jonathan Lucca were the goal scorers for the Pune side in the encounter.
Goa boss Sergio Lobera regretted that his team couldn’t convert their chances in the game. “We had different moments in the game, had the first chance to get ahead in the game and if we scored the game would have been completely different. Because if we had gone ahead, the other team would have sort of opened their game up and played a little bit more and not lie back and hit us on the counter like they did."
"We weren’t effective today. We weren’t comfortable as moments passed by. As under pressure we tried to score. As a result, we let our style of play go and it made it difficult for us to create chances.”
Lobera made it clear that if you aren’t 100% you aren’t winnng the league, “It (the result) made sure our feet are grounded. We still have a lot of work in the league. We lost the opportunity to go ahead on top of the other teams. We need to improve on our mistakes. We need to grab the three points in the next match. If you aren’t 100% you won’t win the league.”
The Spaniard clarified that the referee had nothing to do with their loss. “Today we didn’t lose because of the referee. The referee isn’t responsible for the loss. It was very tough for us because of the physicality of the game. We couldn’t hold onto the ball that’s what hurt us the most because we are a team that likes to hold onto the ball."
Pune City coach Ranko Popovic was quite jubilant with the victory over FC Goa. He exclaimed, “It was a very important victory because we played against a very good team. We get better and better after every game. It was an open game, both teams had equal chances. I'm happy because my players are doing well. Probably the best game because we played against one of the best teams in the league, controlled it well and didn’t create spaces for them.”
Speaking about his team’s plan for the night he said, “I told my players that these are players who like to hold onto the game as they don’t like running behind the ball and this was our plan. When we had the ball our objective was to close on the spaces. Our plan was only to make them nervous with and without the ball.”
It was very tough to contain them said Popovic, “FC Goa are really are a very good team. It was very difficult to win. Every small space and every time you lose concentration they will take that up. Our concentration was very high. Our players made everything right.”
Published: Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:41 AM IST