The two coaches had very different views to the game.
When the top two sides of the Indian Super League battled it out in Guwahati, a late acrobatic equaliser from Chencho broke hearts in Guwahati as NorthEast United held onto a 1-1 draw against Bengaluru FC. With the first half ending goalless, Federico Gallego gave the hosts the lead at the 64th minute but the Bhutanese made sure Bengaluru still remain unbeaten in the league with a breathtaking finish.
After the match, it was the visiting team’s coach Carles Cuadrat who addressed the media first. Talking about the team’s performance and being able to go back home with a point he said, “I’m very happy with the team, I think we came here to face a very tough opponent and with the injuries in the team we have been very competitive and worked very well. My players did what we had planned and we were trying to take advantage of the offensive chances and set pieces.”
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Watch: NorthEast United 1-1 Bengaluru FC highlights
“We are happy and satisfied that we could escape with one point from this as it was very difficult to get the point against a tough opponent,” Cuadrat added.
NorthEast, surprisingly, were the more dominating side throughout the game and when asked if that took him by surprise, the gaffer said, “No, we weren’t surprised. Thanks to our assistant coach Gerard Zaragoza, with his analysis of our opponent we knew completely what was going to happen in the game. “
Provat Lakra put out a brilliant performance at the right-back and was able to keep Sunil Chhetri’s threat away before having to get subbed out with an injury. When asked if that substitution eased the game for Bengaluru Carles said, “Obviously not, injuries are part of the game and they had quality players to make the substitution and be as good as they were before.”
“Maybe, it was our substitutions which worked better than theirs. We are happy as Chenco gave us the goal and also with Kean Lewis to set up the goal with a beautiful cross. We are happy as things have worked tonight,” he stated.
Finally, the coach talked about the pleasure of being able to go away with a point in the bag having being down till the last moment and said, “It gives happiness, for sure. In football, when you are getting results game after game, you become strong mentally.”
“We found it difficult when earlier against Jamshedpur they scored a similar goal in the dying minutes and you have to work hard to get over those moments and be strong mentally. We are happy that in this game it has happened with us. So, I’m just really satisfied with the efforts the boys are putting in the pitch till the end of the game,” the Dutchman concluded.
Eelco Schattorie, on the other hand, was very disappointed with the final result of the game and was in fury with the referee’s decision that went against his team. “I am cooking from inside, I am trying to calm down.”
“If you look at the whole game there’s only one team who should have won, us. Not because we created that many chances but we were well organized against a team who are the best in the league. They literally had one shot on goal before that goal and as I predicted before the game, if we were to lose(concede) it would be from a set piece as they had the height advantage and they have been better in these things,” he added.
“Now, I get to the point to to talk about the consequences of the referee’s decisions. There was a push on our player just in front of the linesman who was literally near me and at the same time and they let play,” the NorthEast boss added.
“There have been so many instances, like when Reagan was going for the header and their player just stood there, it was 100% a foul. From these small moments, the game changes and gives advantage to the other team,” Schattorie told the press.
“I’m not blaming the referee for not getting the win, I’m blaming him for the consequences, the stimulation. And the second part is that it was our own fault; when in the final moments we tried to play a compact 5-4-1, our young player gets the ball and he loses it. I will never blame him, it’s the part of the learning process with younger players,” he stated.
“So, there are two things I have from the game. Firstly, we had shown inexperience when instead of keeping the ball with us we gave it away in the end and secondly, the referee made some decisions which changes the game and gave the opposition just a little advantage. It’s very painful, it’s so difficult not to talk about the referee. I don’t want to talk about these things, I don’t want to give them any blame but I just want the level of refereeing to be a bit higher as it influences the game,” he further added.
Talking about the injury of Provat Lakra and the setback his team has faced, he said, “Of course, his injury is another worry for us as we have to play ATK in two days. They have more than 4 days rest and I have only two and I have a small squad. Lakra was doing great and as I said before, it is the accumulation of fatigue in travelling which may have a good influence on the injury. He was doing good in training which earned him the start last match but now his injury doesn’t look good and I am very worried about that.”
In the first half of the game, NorthEast’s keeper Pawan Kumar was very clumsy with the ball at his feet and almost gave a goal away when Sunil Chhetri came pressing. Talking about the goalkeeper’s performance he said, “I like to play with the ball, but I don’t think we don’t have that level yet. Football is a matter of decision making, before the game I encouraged them with a small video of Manchester City that as long as the opponent team do not really pressure us we can play from the back. But the moment we get some pressure, the goalkeepers and the center-backs face some difficulties and at the same time, I don’t like to play long balls. So, it all comes down to confidence, I think Pawan has enough quality to play but today he wasn’t very stable. “
Before leaving the press room, he talked about the impact of such a game and said, “I guess we are team with the lowest budget and Bengaluru with probably the highest budget, I think we can be proud that we still got the point.”
“It’s very painful to lose out two points`specially with the upcoming two games in mind and other teams catching up. But I’m 100% sure if the referee was a little bit more conscious with the decisions, this wouldn’t have happened. So, painful, very painful,” he signed off.
NorthEast will now host ATK after two days in Guwahati whereas Bengaluru FC will fly back home to take on Mumbai City FC on 9th of December.