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ISL 2017: Jamshedpur FC coach Steve Coppell rues Andre Bikey red card

NEUFC churned out a fine performance, but could not get the three points in their first game of the season against Jamshedpur FC


Andre Bikey's foul on Seiminlen Doungel that got him the red card. (Image: ISL)
Andre Bikey's foul on Paez that got him the red card. (Image: ISL)

NorthEast United FC started their campaign in a scintillating manner. In what was a completely one-sided game, NEUFC will only have themselves to blame for coming back with only one point.

Even coach Carlos Deus said, “Today’s game should have been a match for NEUFC where we could have created the record for the (most) number of goals scored in a league match."

NorthEast United, right from the start of the game, showcased an attacking brand of football and played positively.

Apart from ruing the missed chances, the coach did mention he was happy with the effort put in by his players and he wants to progress from here on. 

Andre Bikey will not have fond memories of his return to NEUFC, where he had previously played in the ISL, as he was shown the red card sometime after coming on as a second-half substitute.

“It was a definite foul, but was it a red card? Well, that seemed like it was an over the top kind of decision,” was what Jamshedpur FC coach Steve Coppell had to say about the red card. He further mentioned that he had no other option but to be happy and content with one point, as they barely played any football. 

NEUFC got the extra impetus in the second half when Jamshedpur substitute Bikey was given the marching orders after a high footed tackle.

We had one Indian national team defender in action today, as Anas Enathodika from Kerala took the field. However, it was another young Indian defender from Kerala, Abdul Hakku, who grabbed all the headlines and as Coach Carlos Deus said, “He will be one of the big stars of Indian football in the near future.”

NEUFC defender Nirmal Chhetri, buoyed by this performance, said that his side can go on to win the ISL this season. However, he believes the Highlanders have to take it step-by-step, and their primary goal is to reach the semi-finals first.

"We want to win the league this season and for that, we have to reach the knockout stages first and to accomplish that we have to take it match by match, so that is what we are going to do," Nirmal said to Sportskeeda after the match.

Mehtab Hossain, the Claudio Makelele of Indian football, who plays for Jamshedpur FC now mentioned to Sportskeeda, how he was impressed with the brand of football that NEUFC played on the night. 

Speaking on what is different in NEUFC this season, the hard-tackling midfielder mentioned, “In previous years, we have seen NEUFC try and play aimless attacking football, but this season they have a very balanced side. Their defence and midfield are compact. Plus the brand of football that they played is also something we haven’t seen them play in the last few seasons.”

The Highlanders definitely impressed with their brand of football this season, as they kept throwing wave after wave of attacks on the Jamshedpur box. However, they lacked the precision in the final third of the play, and that is something that could well have cost them two points.

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