Pro Kabaddi League 2017 Season 5: Gujarat Fortunegiants coach laments refereeing error in last-gasp loss to Tamil Thalaivas
The Tamil Thalaivas provided one of the most memorable moments in the history of the Pro Kabaddi League on Tuesday, producing a comeback of epic proportions to stun the high-flying Gujarat Fortunegiants and get their campaign back on track. Led by their mercurial skipper Ajay Thakur, the side from Chennai erased an 11-point deficit in the last moments of the game to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
With four minutes to go, they saw themselves at the wrong end of a 34-23 scoreline. However, Thakur sprang to life and cleaned up the Gujarat defence -- inflicting a quick all-out with one successful raid after another. With the gap down to one on the buzzer raid, the lanky raider used all his experience and produced the goods when it mattered the most as he picked up two touch points and secured his side a memorable win.
However, after the match, Gujarat coach Manpreet Singh felt that his side were unlucky and could have won had the referee not made a crucial error in the dying moments of the match. With two minutes left and his side down two men, the Fortunegiants called for a substitution as Manoj Kumar was the man who was to go on to the mat.
Manpreet said, "The referees did not pay heed to out calls and allowed Ajay Thakur to come in. Had they noticed the player earlier, we could have avoided the all out and saved the match. It was the turning point for us."
The raider picked up the point and sent the Zone A leaders down to one man and the substitution came in later, by the time which it was pointless and Thakur easily collected the all out with a surrender raid.
Fazel Atrachali, Gujarat's star defender, lamented his side's inexperience in the final few moments. "Only Sukesh (Hegde) and I have prior experience of playing Pro Kabaddi. The others are relatively new and in the end, they could not keep their cool," he said.
However, he quickly added, "Such matches can happen and we cannot blame any player. You win some games and you lose some. We are still in a strong position on the table and hopefully, we can learn from our mistakes today and do better in the next matches."
The Fortunegiants will face the Patna Pirates in their next encounter in Chennai on September 29, in what promises to be a real high-quality affair between the league's two high fliers.