ISL 2019-10: 'Refereeing is a tough job, they have my full support,' Josep Gombau backs under-fire referees after Odisha FC's 4-2 victory over Mumbai City FC

Odisha scripted a comprehensive 4-2 victory over Mumbai City FC
Odisha scripted a comprehensive 4-2 victory over Mumbai City FC
Shashwat Kumar

After a comprehensive 4-2 victory over Mumbai City FC, Josep Gombau, the Odisha FC coach sat grinning from ear to ear at his side’s exhilarating display. Subsequently, the Spaniard chatted about a variety of topics, ranging from his players’ performance to inevitably, the referee’s decisions.

Gombau started off by applauding his troops for a magnificent attacking showing in which his side made the net bulge thrice in the opening period itself.

On being asked about what clicked today, he remarked,

We had been playing well before too but the results didn’t go in our way. But, today we got the three points and I am very happy.

The Spaniard also opened up about his side’s style of play, a question that had done the rounds a day ago as well, when the coach confidently quipped that he intended to not even contemplate changing it.

He said,

Coming from Barcelona, my philosophy is to play good attacking football and we try to make the pitch as big as possible. Jerry and Nandhakumar were brilliant today as was Xisco. Also, my team will keep playing the same way because I feel very strongly about that brand of football.

Finally, the coach was asked about the penalty incident, which helped Mumbai claw back into the game, albeit briefly. He opined that from my position, it didn’t seem like a penalty and that he had to check again, before coming to a conclusion.

He also elaborated on the state of refereeing throughout the ISL. He said,

Being a referee is a tough job. Anyone who has anything to do with football, should referee a game once; it isn’t easy. I have full support for the referees because I know how difficult the task is. As for what the federation could do, it has to look at the kind of education it provides to the referees, the investment it puts in and make referees become professional referees. In all the big leagues, those who officiate are professionals. If such steps are followed, then things will surely improve. If not instantly, then in a year’s time definitely.

As for his opposite number, the game painted as dreary a picture as Mumbai City FC would’ve envisioned. Jorge Costa’s side looked bereft of imagination offensively while they were all over the shop defensively. Highlighting his team’s poor display, the Portuguese added,

We were not at our best today and we deserved to lose. Odisha played very well and they were value for their victory.

On being further questioned about the cause of the defeat, Costa came up with a cryptic statement,

Sometimes when you take the opposition lightly, you fail and sometimes when you think you are better than you actually are, you lose. I had a chat with the boys this morning regarding this and now that we have a good break, we can get back to our best.

No Mumbai City FC player embodied their shambolic display as much as left-back, Subhashish Bose. The defender was ran ragged throughout the first half and was culpable for at least 2 goals, if not all of them. On being asked if the decision to haul him off at half-time was tactical or forced, Costa replied,

It was a bit of both. But I don’t like to speak about individual players. We failed collectively and didn’t deserve to win, in light of our performance.

Thus, courtesy an entertaining contest, the frenetic and topsy-turvy nature of the ISL had been laid bare for everyone to witness. While Mumbai arrived with all the momentum, they departed having more found more questions than answers.

As for Odisha, they stuck to their guns, their philosophy and manager’s instructions, thereby scripting arguably a season-defining victory. And, though one would do well not to get drawn into early-season predictions, one feels that the match against Mumbai could just act as the springboard for further success for Odisha.

Edited by Kingshuk Kusari


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