FC Goa coach Sergio Lobera slams ISL authorities after ATK match ends in stalemate

FC Goa coach Sergio Lobera was in no mood to pull any punches in the aftermath of his side’s Indian Super League (ISL) match in Kolkata, saying that his side went through to get to the city didn’t permit them to play.

football Updated: Jan 04, 2018 12:01 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
FC Goa,ATK,Indian Super League
FC Goa players were forced to warm up in their travel gear ahead of their match vs ATK at Kolkata due to a late arrival. (HT Photo)

A match ending at nearly 1 am was a first for both Teddy Sheringham and Sergio Lobera but while the ATK coach never lost his sangfroid, it left his FC Goa counterpart seething.

“Never in my life have I seen such a situation. The ISL is a great competition and it doesn’t deserve a match like today. I think the circumstances we faced in the past two days didn’t permit us to play today,” said Lobera, speaking rapidly and through an interpreter, after the 1-1 draw with ATK here.

“About the only thing I can be content today is that none of my players got injured. Because today was incredible. Never has my team warmed up in travel gear.”

It is not fair on the fans and the players because in such a situation you can’t have a spectacle, he said. The coach then listed the team’s ordeal that included trying to fly on Wednesday morning as well only to be again thwarted by a technical snag.

“We spent entire day at airport, we had nowhere to rest nowhere to eat. We had to come here running because if we didn’t, there was a possibility of us long three points to the opposition. We trained in travel gear and changed in five minutes. It is obvious why we ended up conceding in the first five minutes,” said Lobera.

In such a situation all he could tell his players is to play with pride and remind them that they represent the people of Goa, he said. “They showed a lot of physical and mental strength.”

Asked if despite all this, FC Goa could have finished with full points, Lobera said the team should have taken some of the chances especially at the end. “We wanted to show what FC Goa is all about. In different circumstances, we could have won but today I am happy with the draw. What worries me is that this ordeal will also affect our next two games.”

FC Goa play Northeast United on Saturday and host Jamshedpur FC on January 11.

Sheringham thanks fans

Sheringham had a word of praise for the fans, some of whom stayed for over four hours at the stadium because the match was supposed to start at 8pm.

“It was fantastic. I don’t know how many stayed till the end but it was great that they didn’t throw in the towel and chose to stick with us,” he said.

During the under-17 World Cup, Kolkata ensured the Salt lake stadium was a full house when a semi-final was shifted here on a day’s notice. On Wednesday, the 19,626 crowd waited patiently through repeated announcements about a delay in kick-off before becoming the 12th man of the kind that would be the envy of ATK’s competitors in the ISL.

First Published: Jan 04, 2018 11:21 IST