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Super Cup

John Gregory blasts AIFF following Super Cup final defeat

Written by: Neil Talnikar

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The Englishman mentioned that his side had to travel to Bhubaneshwar only to accept a walk over from Aizawl FC.

The Hero Super Cup 2019 was marred by controversies throughout as almost all I-league teams refused to participate in their stance against the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) decisions regarding a unified league from next season.

Nevertheless, the tournament was being played with the worst possible scores of attendances as last year’s Indian Super League (ISL) champions Chennaiyin FC met FC Goa in the final.

Goa, who were also the finalists of ISL along with eventual champions Bengaluru FC, were  favorites to win the trophy, which they accomplished eventually. Two quickfire goals from Ferran Corominas and Brandon Fernandes in the second half were enough to hand them over the victory despite Raphael Augusto’s equaliser.

The Gaurs had an upper hand in the fixture, however the Marina Machans’ boss John Gregory shared a different set of views. The Englishman blamed the AIFF for handing over a tight schedule for his side, which saw them play four games in 10 days.

“They (Chennaiyin FC players) gave everything, which is what you ask as a coach. We are disappointed we did not manage to win the game. It has been our fourth game in 10 days. Do the math," Gregory told Goal.

“It is a ridiculous schedule for us. It was pretty evident in the last minutes, we had some tired legs on the field,” said a furious Gregory.


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The 64 year-old, though, had a valid point to argue that Chennaiyin had to travel all the way to Bhubaneshwar just to accept a walk-over from Aizawl FC, who had refused to participate in the tournament.

“We had to fly one day to accept a walkover. (We) handed the team sheet in, hung all the kits out, checked our accreditation and there is nobody in the other dressing room.”

Nevertheless, the former Aston Villa, Derby County and Queens Park Rangers’ gaffer admitted that his current side had their chances in the encounter against Goa.

"(In the) first half, we dominated and played well, [we] had quite a few good chances to score and we did not take them. We managed to get back in it after they scored. For a time, I thought we were the going to be the only team who were going to win the game.”

“It is an awful feeling when you get to a final and are going home second,” he added.

Moreover, Gregory went on to lavish praise on his opponents and especially their coach saying, “Congrats to FC Goa. They are a team that just missed out on the ISL but they have managed to get themselves a trophy. Sergio (Lobera) is not only a good coach but also a really good human being.”

The season is yet to conclude for the Machans as they will now have focus on a bigger tournament in AFC Cup where they have qualified for the group stages.

Published: Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:36 AM IST

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