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ISL 2018/19: 'The red card was a harsh decision', says ATK coach Steve Coppell after the loss to NorthEast United FC

426   //    05 Oct 2018, 00:40 IST

Sena R
Sena Ralte's (left) challenge on Nihkil Kadan for which he was sent off in the 32nd minute. PIC: ISL MEDIA

ATK went down 0-1 to NorthEast United FC in their second fixture at the Salt Lake Stadium on Thursday evening. A solitary goal from Rowlin Borges in the 90th minute of the match was enough for the ‘Highlanders’ to seal vital away points in the ongoing Indian Super League. ATK coach feels that the red card given to Sena Ralte in the 32nd minute was the turning point of the match and it was a ‘harsh’ decision by the referee.

During the post-match press conference, Steve Coppell said, “It’s not a good idea to play 10 against 11. I thought it was a very harsh red card. I think the referee couldn’t read the climax of the game. It wasn’t a temperamental game but he showed too many yellow cards to many players. My player was guilty of a silly second challenge. He got punished and we had to play with 10 men for almost an hour. It was cruel for our players to lose like that in the end.”

ATK has not learned from their mistakes in the previous match. Lack of coordination in the midfield and failure to distribute the balls upfront let them down once again. Although their efforts to keep visitors NorthEast United FC at bay for nearly an hour was the only positive output of the entire match. Defender John Johnson spearheaded the defence but couldn’t help them from saving the blushes in front of 20,000 supporters present in the stands on Thursday evening.

On the other hand, NorthEast United FC coach Eelco Schattorie praised the entire team for the effort. The ‘Highanders’ are now placed at the top of the standings with four points from two matches. “First I want to address that the pre-season we went to was far from the way I wanted it. To pull off four points in the first two games is fantastic after that. It’s a big compliment to the players wanting to work together. I like to play attacking football. I like to dominate,” said Eelco Schattorie.

NorthEast United FC just got two days of recovery time, they travelled to Kolkata and won the match, it was indeed a brilliant display from the team. Regarding the matter, Eelco said, “Taking into consideration that we had two days to recover. I was a bit frustrated at how we played. Things got even difficult after they got a red-card because players had to work hard to break them. But we got away with three points, which is fantastic.”