The Highlanders lacked end product in front of the Stallions’ goal.

NorthEast United FC fell to a 1 – 0 defeat at the hands of FC Pune City in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Wednesday. The Highlanders largely dominated proceedings and created the better chances, but were undone by Marcelinho’s strike four minutes from time. The hosts now seat rooted at ninth in the table, while Pune climbs up to the second spot.

Addressing the media during the post-match press conference was NorthEast’s head coach Avram Grant, who expressed his disappointment at having lost a match where they had mostly held the upper hand. “The only negative thing is that we lost,” the Israeli remarked. “All the other factors were good. We completely dominated the game in the second half. We created a lot of chances and we missed some big chances. We moved the ball well. We just did not score the goal. So, it’s very disappointing for me. The quality of football was good, but the result was not.”

He further added, “It’s a very painful loss because the players know that we lost despite dominating the game. So, it’s not easy because I don’t like to lose games like these.”

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The 63-year-old was also of the opinion that the Stallions rather than carving their own chance, was handed one in the run-up to the goal. “We prepared well, played against a team in the top four and played much better than them,” Grant stated. “And then we did not win the game because of one mistake. They did not even create the chance as we were the ones who gave the ball away before they scored.”

Meanwhile, Pune’s assistant coach Vladica Grujic lauded the opponents for playing the way they did, while also admitting that the Stallions did get lucky. “They (NorthEast) are a very strong opponent,” the Serbian inferred. “But they could not score and we won the three points. They played very good football and were very dangerous two or three times. They just lacked the finish. We were lucky to have scored the goal and win the game.”

Regarding his team’s performance, Grujic said, “Today our players were disciplined. They were patient and waited for a mistake from the opponent and we scored when the situation came. We stayed compact for 90 minutes and Marcelinho scored in the 86th minute.”