ISL 2017/18: NorthEast coach Avram Grant gets sent off against Kerala Blasters, holds press conference outside stadium premises
What's the story?
Last night's ISL encounter between North East United and Kerala Blasters ended on a sour note when a fight broke out between the two sets of players in the dying stages of the game. The Highlanders' boss Avram Grant was sent off for entering the pitch during the scuffle.
He was subsequently stopped from holding a press conference after the game because of the marching orders received by him. Defiantly, Grant then held an interaction with the media outside the premises of the stadium with the North East fans nearby.
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The match ended with Kerala Blasters winning 1-0 on the night and ultimately handing North East their fourth straight loss. Wes Brown scored the winner in the first half with Jackichand Singh delivering the assist for the Englishman.
The game was labelled as a master versus student affair with David James, the Blasters manager having played under Grant during their time with Portsmouth.
The heart of the matter
In his interaction outside the stadium, Grant had a quick chat with the gathered journalists. The gaffer revealed that he went on to the pitch to stop the fight but revealed that he was treated as a criminal by the match officials. According to Grant, neither the referee nor the fourth official gave him proper reasoning on why he was given the marching orders.
He quipped, "I would also say that like the way coach’s respect referees, referees should also respect coaches. The referees today didn’t know how to respect a coach.”
The league authorities have been highly swift this season in lashing out bans and fines for any comments made against the referees. It remains to be seen what action the ISL management takes against Avram Grant.
It has not been the smoothest of seasons for North East United. The arrival of Avram Grant had managed to calm down the storm in Guwahati but the latest episode has again deflected the attention towards the Highlanders and obviously, for the wrong reasons.
Despite all this, North East United would love to finish this campaign on a high when they play their last game of the season against Mumbai City FC on February 22.