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It was a game of two halves-Molina

The Kolkata manager was disappointed after his team dropped points against Chennai…


Atletico de Kolkata earned a crucial point on the road at Marina Arena that has catapulted them to third in the Indian Super League standings, but coach Jose Molina reckons his side could have bagged all three points on Sunday night.

Helder Postiga scored only his second goal of the ISL season on 39 minutes to hand the Bengal Tigers a slender lead after both team had squandered their chances to find the net; however, a second half header from Davide Succi meant the ISL giants shared the spoils in the Clash of the Champions. Reflecting on the game, the Kolkata gaffer claimed his personnel dominated for long periods in the first half only for their exhaustion to let the hosts claw themselves back into the game.

“We could have won the match,” claimed the former Atletico de Madrid goalkeeper. “We played really well in the first half. We were the better team in the first half. We scored one goal and had chances to score more goals. In the second half, we were a little bit tired and Chennai controlled the match, kept possession and put us under pressure. We could not defend with the same energy. It was a game of two halves.

“Maybe, Chennai deserve the point given the way they played in the second half, but I felt their goalscorer Succi pushed [Arnab] Mondal. Maybe, it was a foul, but they thoroughly deserved the point.

“We wanted to win here. We tried to put our full energy to try and win just two days after our last game. We got one point,and it is always better to get one point rather than nothing at all. We prefer to win, though.”

Jerry Lalrinzuala has been the only player who has earned Marco Materazzi’s public admiration this season, with the teenager becoming a mainstay in the team after Nallappan Mohanraj failed to cement his place in the line-up. However, right winger Javi Lara and fullback Pritam Kotal capitalized on his inexperience as most of the Kolkata attack emanated from his side of the pitch. To the question of whether their gameplan was engineered to target the novice, he said: “We tried attacking on two wings, not only on Javi Lara’s side. We never thought their left-back was weak. I think he’s a good defender for someone of his age.”

Iain Hume was a surprise exclusion as observers expected the Canada international and ISL joint-topscorer to spearhead the line-up against the Marina Machans, but 35-year-old Juan Belensco was handed his fourth start of the campaign instead. Although the player revealed he was fine while speaking to the reporters after the game, the Kolkata manager uttered a contrasting statement.

“He was on the bench as he had pain in one of his legs,” said Molina. “He could not be used to help us because that would have been a huge risk; it might have resulted in a serious injury. We kept him on the bench with the next game in mind.”

While the game kept either team’s medical team busy, Henrique Sereno seemed to have sustained the most serious injury as he was stretchered off the pitch eight minutes into the second half. Quizzed about the nature of his injury, he admitted his ignorance of the injury as of Sunday night.

“It’s a hamstring injury. We’ll take medical tests to know the extent of the injury tomorrow. I hope it’s not a serious injury, but I don’t see anything major now. He’ll travel with us and we’ll assess him in Goa as we fly tomorrow,” concluded the Spanish manager.

Report and Photo © ISL Media


Published: Mon Nov 21, 2016 11:49 AM IST

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