ISL 2022-23: "Sometimes it feels like the referees give too much respect to the big clubs" - Marco Balbul NorthEast United FC head coach after a disappointing defeat to Mumbai City FC

MCFC defeat NEUFC 3-1 today (Image courtesy: ISL media)
MCFC defeat NEUFC 3-1 today (Image courtesy: ISL media)

NorthEast United FC lost their seventh game of the 2022-23 ISL season 1-3 to Mumbai City FC on November 25 the Islanders' eighth game of the season.

NorthEast United FC have now lost seven consecutive games and remain at the bottom of the table with zero points. Meanwhile, Mumbai City FC climbed to the top of the table with a win today.

The game started with a bang for Des Buckingham's side as they took the lead in the 10th minute courtesy of an Ahmed Jahouh penalty. The referee's decision to award the penalty, though, will raise a lot of questions.

NorthEast United FC equalized in the 17th minute through a Parthib Gogoi strike. However, the parity was short-lived as Bipin Singh gave the visitors the lead in the 28th minute.

It was a triumphant night in Guwahati for the visitors Mumbai City FC as they head straight to the 🔝 of the table! 🔵💥#NEUMCFC #HeroISL #LetsFootball #NorthEastUnitedFC #MumbaiCityFC

Jorge Pereyra Diaz scored in the 46th minute to make it 3-1 for the visitors. After taking a handsome two-goal lead, Mumbai City FC literally controlled the game. They didn't allow NorthEast United FC much scope to score more goals.

Pathib Gogoi became the first Indian goal scorer for Neufc this season (Image courtesy: ISL Media)
Pathib Gogoi became the first Indian goal scorer for Neufc this season (Image courtesy: ISL Media)

NorthEast United FC's head coach Marco Balbul spoke to the media after the game and raised questions on the referees and VAR, saying:

"If you look at the first goal we conceded, you will see that the referee was in no position to give a penalty. He was far away from the play. Sometimes it feels like the referees give too much respect to the big clubs. Football doesn't work like that. Mumbai City FC are the best team in the league and don't need favors from the referee to win games."

When asked about NorthEast United FC's performance in the game today, he said:

"In the first half, we were good, played good football. We were poor in the second half, we conceded early and never really came back into the game. Against a side like Mumbai, it is always difficult when you concede early in the half."

Replays showed that the penalty awarded to Mumbai City FC should not have been awarded as the foul happened outside the box. When quizzed about whether VAR would be a conclusive solution to the ongoing referee issue in the league, Babul replied:

"See, first of all, I accept that mistakes can happen and happen everywhere.But, it shouldn't be like all the mistakes happen against only NorthEast United FC. Even in the first game against Bengaluru FC, if you look, we deserved a point. I think VAR would be decisive for this league. It would be a very good decision to make the game fairer."

NorthEast United FC have lost seven games on the trot. When asked about what he thinks has been wrong for his side this season, he said:

"We are good in patches, but overall we need to be more compact and disciplined. We cannot keep conceding 2-3 goals in every game, we just cannot. If we keep conceding goals at this rate we can never win games. And then to be honest, we just don't have enough quality to impact the game. It is true, we need more quality players in the squad."

NorthEast United FC will get a win sooner or later: Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham

Mumbai City FC moved to the top of the table with a win today. Coach Des Buckingham addressed the media after the game and shared his elation at the win:

"The game went exactly how we had anticipated it to be. Believe me when I say this, NorthEast United FC are a good side and will eventually get the win sooner or later. It was our job to ensure that it doesn't happen today."

Mumbai City FC won the game quite comfortably today but failed to keep a clean sheet. When asked what he had to say about his side's defense, Buckingham said:

"We are in the process of setting up a defensive unit and I have complete faith in the boys. I have a young backline, and I have complete faith in them."
Bipin scored the second goal for Mumbai City FC (Image courtesy: ISL Media)
Bipin scored the second goal for Mumbai City FC (Image courtesy: ISL Media)

Bipin Singh has had a dream run in the ISL under Buckingham. He scored a goal against the side that represents his home today. Speaking about his goal, the Manipuri winger said:

"See now, I play for Mumbai City FC and Mumbai is my home and my team. I always work hard to improve my game and I am happy we won today."
0️⃣8️⃣ Games2️⃣3️⃣ Goals#ICYDK, @MumbaiCityFC have scored the most goals after 8 matches in #HeroISL history! 😱#NEUMCFC #HeroISL #LetsFootball #MumbaiCityFC

Striker Greg Stewart made the switch from League Shield winners Jamshedpur FC to Mumbai City FC. The star player spoke exclusively to Sportskeeda after the game and said:

"This is exactly why I came to Mumbai to win games and play the style of football we are playing and be at the top of the table."

Mumbai City FC are the only side to remain unbeaten this year. When asked if that added extra pressure on the side, this is what Stewart had to say:

"No, absolutely not, because we put ourselves in added pressure situations, so that doesn't affect us."

Mumbai City FC next play FC Goa in Mumbai on December 1 while the Highlanders play Odisha FC away on December 2.

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Edited by Aditya Singh
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