The heated encounter between ATK and FC Goa ended in a 0-0 draw at the Salt Lake Stadium on Wednesday evening. The match had everything, the fans gathered in huge numbers, big players played their part, there were nervous moments where the players lost their cool, the only thing missing was a goal.
FC Goa got the better of the opportunities in the first half and it was expected of them to take the lead but they failed to convert. Much was expected from their Spanish striker Ferran Corominas but he had an off day much to the dismay of coach Sergio Lobera. The tactician thought that the game was pretty even contested.
During the post-match press conference, Lobera said, “I think both teams had a fair amount of open chances. Fall had a great chance in the first half and towards the end, we had a good chance. I think it was an open game.”
The appeal for a penalty in the 54the minute was a significant incident in the match. From the replay, it clearly seemed that Andre Bikey was guilty of a handball offence inside the box but the referee was not convinced. Manvir Singh's shot hit straight at the hands of ATK's defender. When asked about the incident, FC Goa’s manager was pretty annoyed with the referee’s decision.
Regarding the matter, he said, “I think the penalty was obvious from the hand-ball. When there is a penalty and it is obvious and the referee doesn’t give it, you can’t really do or say much. I have to respect the referee and today I have to do a big thing to respect the result.”
In order to avoid any controversies, he was spontaneous in his reply and said, “I’m not going to speak, then I’m risking a suspension. I’m always respectful of the referees. Always. You’ve never heard of me of speaking badly about referees in press conferences. But if you need the league to improve, we all need to improve.”
ATK played better football in the second half but poor finishing cost them dearly. Jayesh Rane had the best chance for the hosts but brilliant defending from FC Goa’s young shot-stopper Mohammad Nawaz denied ATK the goal. English manager Steve Coppell took credit in keeping FC Goa’s attacking line in check throughout the game.
“I think time will give me the conclusion of my emotions after the result. They had two good chances early on when we were settling into the game. After that, I felt we got more clear-cut opportunities. To keep Goa quiet is an achievement in itself, but maybe with time, it’ll be something to be thought as points dropped rather than points won,” said ATK’s when asked about his views regarding today’s match.