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NorthEast United FC's first goal was because of the referee: ATK Mohun Bagan coach Antonio Lopez Habas left fuming after 2-1 loss 

ATK Mohun Bagan coach Antonio Lopez Habas was furious with the referee's decision that led to NorthEast United FC's first goal (Image Courtesy: ISL Media)
ATK Mohun Bagan coach Antonio Lopez Habas was furious with the referee's decision that led to NorthEast United FC's first goal (Image Courtesy: ISL Media)

ATK Mohun Bagan suffered their third loss in the 2020-21 season of the Indian Super League (ISL), following their 2-1 defeat at the hands of NorthEast United FC on Tuesday. Roy Krishna scored the only goal for the Mariners at the Fatorda Stadium in Margao.

NorthEast United FC took the lead through Luis Machado on the hour mark. 12 minutes later, Krishna equalized for ATK Mohun Bagan. But in the 81st minute, Federico Gallego curled home a well-taken shot from outside the box to win the game for the Highlanders.

In the build-up to the first goal, Machado nudged Tiri from behind and sent the latter tumbling to the ground. The linesman raised his flag to signal a foul, but the referee refused to award a free-kick to ATK Mohun Bagan. Machado played to the whistle and scored the opening goal for NorthEast United FC.

ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Antonio Lopez Habas was furious with the referee's decision and said after the match:

"We were not inconsistent. I think the score is because of the referee. The first goal to Northeast (United FC) was because of referee. After that, the match became absolutely different."

ATK Mohun Bagan controlled the proceedings in the first half and could have taken an eighth-minute lead, but Javi Hernandez failed to keep his shot on target.

"Maybe the first forty-five minutes we were better than the opponent. But, we couldn't score goals. After that, the referee made them score. A goal is not possible when the linesman has his flag up. I don't understand this. We didn't have any luck with the referee in all season. The opponent won the match because the first goal is not legal," said the former two-time ISL winning coach.

Habas was quick to admit that his side lacked penetration after the break.

"We didn't have a lot of chances in the second half. We attacked but there was no possibility to score goals. NorthEast had good players from central midfielder to attack. (Luis) Machado and (Federico) Gallego are good players. They scored goals from half chances."

ATK Mohun Bagan lost one match not the league: Antonio Lopez Habas

Roy Krishna scored his seventh goal in the current season of ISL (Image Courtesy: ISL Media)
Roy Krishna scored his seventh goal in the current season of ISL (Image Courtesy: ISL Media)

Antonio Lopez Habas believes that the loss won't deter ATK Mohun Bagan's confidence in the long run. The Mariners currently occupy the second spot in the ISL table.

"We will work with the same idea and philosophy. We lost one match not the league. I think we need more steps for referee because (they gave) only one penalty to us all season . Other teams have fix, six, seven penalties for scoring and ATK (Mohun Bagan) have only one," Habas further added.

After going three games without scoring, Roy Krishna found the back of the net against NorthEast United. The striker timed his run perfectly and met Carl McHugh's through pass in the far post to equalize for ATK Mohun Bagan.

"Roy (Krishna) is a good player. He is very important for us. It's impossible for him to score goals everyday. I always support him," Habas concluded.

ATK Mohun Bagan will next face Kerala Blasters on Sunday. The Mariners won the corresponding fixture 1-0.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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