ISL 2017/18: FC Pune City's assistant coach Vladica Grujic blames referee for loss against Kerala Blasters
Two sensational goals, one dubious penalty, one manager being sent off in the first half and yet another match marred by below-par refereeing decisions. The game between FC Pune City and Kerala Blasters literally had everything to make it one of the most intense games of the season. The Blasters won 2-1 on the night in dramatic fashion with CK Vineeth scoring a stunning left-foot strike in stoppage time to secure all three points.
David James, yesterday, called for his side to give their all in every match from now on with the Kochi-based team needing a win in all their remaining encounters. His players delivered exactly what was demanded by the manager and James was pleased by the spirit shown by his players. He admitted in his post-match press conference that this was one of the best games in the ISL that he was a part of.
The Blasters manager reserved some praise from CK Vineeth who scored the winner and probably the goal of the season too. James revealed, "CK (Vineeth) has had a tough week. There were some personal issues with the player which led him to an emotional outburst after the game (CK was seen crying after the final whistle). But he showed a lot of resilience and that goal truly meant a lot to him."
Meanwhile, for the Stallions, Ranko Popovic who was sent out for arguing with the fourth official on a number of occasions, opted out of the press conference. His deputy, Vladica Grujic, was visibly distraught in the interaction and said that his side did not deserve to lose the game.
Grujic then went on a rant against the refereeing standards which has now become a part and parcel of the ISL. He said, "I believe we should have had 2-3 penalties. It's true that we lost this game because of the referee. The referee sent Popovic off for arguing which will make all the headlines tomorrow but what about his performance?"
David James also called for consistency from the match officials and stated that the refereeing standards are a big problem at the moment.
It was an intense game which was settled by a beauty of a goal through CK Vineeth. FC Pune City were hard done by the belief that a draw would have been a fair result but at the end, as said by Vladica Grujic, "It felt as if Kerala Blasters wanted three points more than us," holds true.