Bambolim (Goa) [India], November 21 (ANI): ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Antonio Lopez Habas lauded the team's 1-0 victory over Kerala Blaster in the Indian Super League opener and said that the club played fantastic football after a long break.
During the first-half of the game, both the side gave each other tough competition, restricting one another from taking the lead.
After a goal-less first half, both sides started playing aggressively in the second half. However, it was ATK Mohun Bagan that managed to take advantage. Roy Krishna netted the goal in the 67th minute, putting his side ahead of the Kerala Blasters.
The match did not witness any more goals and ATK Mohun Bagan came out victorious. For his match-winning performance, Krishna won the Hero of the Match award.
"It is very difficult to compete well after a long period of time away from the game. But this is football. The team played fantastic during the game. Now we have to think about the game against SC East Bengal and we will prepare by training every day," ISL's official website quoted Habas as saying.
Analysing the game from the team's point of view, Habas said: "We had to correct the situation of the central midfielders and the strikers. After the substitution [of Pronay Halder with Manvir Singh], we improved. We had to press the opponents and I feel this result is good for us. Kerala played well but I am very happy with the three points today."
Michael Soosairaj found himself being stretchered off the pitch in the first half after a collision with Kerala defender Prasanth Karuthadathkuni and Habas was sympathetic.
"We have to wait to understand the problem with Soosairaj. We will give all the support to Soosairaj to help him recover as soon as possible," Habas said.
Meanwhile, despite getting no points from the match, Kerala Blasters head coach Kibu Vicuna was satisfied with the way his team played and singled out the areas where they needed improvement.
"Our plan for the game was very clear. We are happy with the performance of the team. Unfortunately, we lost because of that goal. We had some chances to score but we didn't convert so now we have to focus on the next game. We have to improve in the final third. Our attackers and midfielders didn't participate too much in the final third. So we have to try to improve this aspect of the game," he said.
Kerala Blasters will now take on NorthEast United FC at GMC Stadium on November 26 in their second game of the season while ATK Mohun Bagan face off against SC East Bengal at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Bambolim in the much-awaited Kolkata Derby on November 27. (ANI)