The Englishman was critical of the referee’s adhoc decision to demiss three players on either side.
The third quarterfinal of the Super Cup between FC Goa and Jamshedpur FC was an enthralling game for all the wrong reasons, with six players being sent off as Goa recorded a resounding 5-1 victory over Jamshedpur. The game was finely poised up until just before the halftime break when a violent scuffle sparked after Brandon Fernandes broke the deadlock.
Both sets of players got into a really heated brawl and after a lot of physical violence, referee Venkatesh R was forced to send off three players from each side. While Goa did go onto dominate Jamshedpur and score four more in the second half, the Men of Steel’s’ assistant manager Steve Coppell was shocked by what happened on the field and had a lot to say after the game.
He spoke about his feelings on the match and said, “Well, I don’t know if it was a match as such. There was obviously a melee at halftime which I couldn’t witness because I was already in the dressing room. But, when I came out, I got the players back into the dressing room and was informed that three players would be sent off.”
“I don’t know why they were being sent off. It just dissolved into a little bit of a farce. The game became touchy in the first half. I don’t understand the referee. He gave a goal and it looked to me as if Brandon had come off the pitch to be in an offside position and looked to gain an unclear advantage, so I felt he must’ve been offside. The evening continued in that way, not reality. That can be an apt description of the evening.”
He seemed really disappointed at the officiating and said: “Around the world, there are quite a few occasions when there are scuffles at halftime. But, I can’t remember one occasion where the official decides to send off three players from each team. The officiating has got to be questioned because the crowd, who paid to come to watch a 11 Vs 11 match, have now witnessed an 8 Vs 8. It’s a farce to be honest.”
Coppell was asked whether he felt any of his players deserved to be sent off, to which he replied, “At this stage, I don’t really know what happened. There was a lot of pushing and a lot of noise. Then we went into the dressing room and were talking about the second half, and were informed that three players were sent off.
“It seemed wonderful symmetry that three players from both sides are sent off, three players from each side are equally guilty. There were 30-40 people there shouting, pushing and shoving and how you can distinguish who are the ones guilty is something I can never know, but I’m sure they will.”
The gaffer was then asked whether the entire fault is to be given to Subrata Paul, who played a part in the brawl ensuing. “The last game of the season was just that he misjudged the through-ball, any goalkeeper does that. But today, if he hadn’t protested for so long, the second goal wouldn’t have been mocked.
“So in a way, what an example to set for the future. If you keep complaining, the referee might change his mind. So, he justified his complaining and made the referee change his mind. I don’t know what his (Subrata’s) role was in that half-time melee, was he hot-headed? He’s a passionate player and he’s been my first choice all year because of that.” he ended with.