ISL 2017: FC Goa coach Sergio Lobera slams league authorities for organising ATK game under farcical conditions
What's the story?
FC Goa manager Sergio Lobera blasted the ISL authorities for organising their ISL match against ATK on Wednesday even after a lengthy delay which saw the game start at 10.45 pm. He felt that the tie should have been cancelled as FC Goa were already late to reach Kolkata due to rescheduling of their flight.
In case you didn't know
FC Goa had to travel to Kolkata for their match against ATK on December 31, 2017 but because the police denied to give security for the game on new year's eve, the match was postponed to January 3.
ATK and FC Goa finally played the match which ended in a 1-1 draw with Robbie Keane and Ferran Corominas scoring a goal each.
The heart of the matter
The Goa team left for Kolkata on Tuesday afternoon but their chartered flight had to do an emergency landing due to a technical snag and another flight was booked for 10 am on Wednesday. On the match day, a jet caught fire at the Goa airport and the runway was closed down. The team finally took off in the evening and reached the Kolkata airport at 9 pm. The match started at 10:45pm and went on till 1am in chilly conditions which infuriated Sergio Lobera.
“We accepted the change from December 31 and agreed to play the match on January 3. But within the prevailing circumstances and causes that were there today, I think it called for a force majeure," Lobera said after the match.
“We respect what’s been told to us. But obviously it’s not what we would have liked. Never in my life, I’ve seen a situation like this in professional football. ISL is a great league and it does not deserve matches like this," he continued.
The 40-year-old further said, “We spent the entire day at the airport with nothing to eat and nowhere to rest. And we had to come here running because if we did not leave, there was a possibility that we would have lost three points.”
“It was an incredible day. I’ve never seen a team training in their travel gear and this is not good for anybody. So it was obvious that we ended up conceding a goal in the first four minutes,” he added.
“The only thing I will be content about today is that none of my players are injured. The players put in a lot both physically and mentally. They did everything they could do. What is concerning is the matches we have after this. All will get affected. I am glad we ended stronger as on another day, we could have won,” Lobera concluded.
FC Goa next play Northeast United on Saturday and host Jamshedpur on January 11. On the other hand, ATK travel to Benglaluru for their match against the Sunil Chhetri-led side on Sunday.
Lobera has a valid point that the match should have been called off and it certainly put many FC Goa players at risk of suffering injuries. But as FC Goa play two matches in the next seven days, it was almost impossible to reschedule the match to some other day.