ISL 2016 | Molina cannot understand "dirty" ending to the semis game

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ISL 2016 | Molina cannot understand "dirty" ending to the semis game

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SportsCafe Desk

12/14/2016

Atletico de Kolkata manager called the fight that erupted after the Mumbai-ATK match as dirty stating that the players should fight on the football pitch and not off it. The ATK coach also explained his decision to field 9 different players in the second leg of the semi-final against Mumbai.

Atletico booked their berth in the ISL final, for a second time in three seasons, after they played out a 0-0 draw against Mumbai at the Mumbai Football arena. Their 3-2 win in the first leg in Kolkata was enough to see them become the first team in the history of the competition to reach two finals.

The game, however, ended with an all-out brawl on the field with Juan Belencoso and Thiago Cunha being sent-off after the game had ended. The Mumbai player was caught on tape kicking Pritam Kotal in the chest and had to be restrained and forced off the field by the Mumbai support staff.

“I don't know. I couldn't understand. I don't know who started it but I think it's absolutely dirty. You should fight inside the pitch during 90 minutes. It should end within 90 minutes but it shouldn't continue ahead. I don’t like it and I couldn't see it all. Maybe you'll know on television, maybe you can analyse from it,” Molina said after the match.

The game was not as simple as the scoreline suggested as Robert Lalthlamuana was sent off in the first half for a second bookable offence. Kolkata played almost 50 minutes with a man down but according to their manager, that turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the Bengal team were more stable defensively as a result of the red card.

“Much better to play with 11 than 10 but maybe with 10 we got stronger in defense. Mumbai didn't have enough resources to beat our defense. But I prefer to play with 11,” he added.

“Yes in the second half, no in the first half. We gave them too much space to play in the first half which gave them a big chance to score. We weren't comfortable with the ball in the first 20-to-25 minutes. Later we started to do well. With Robert sent off, we did well. In the second half, we played better because we tried to do something different by not allowing them much space. The plan was good and I'm absolutely happy,” the Spaniard said.

To everyone's surprise, Molina chose to rest 9 players who had been a part of the team that won the first leg in Kolkata including marquee player Helder Postiga, top scorer Iain Hume, and in-form winger Sameehg Doutie

When asked if he knew who would play in the final, Molina replied, “I don't know who'll play in the finals. I tried to put best eleven today. We had to travel and so there was not much time to recover. We have a lot of good players like Javi Lara, Abhinash (Ruidas) and others. So why should I play with the same line-up? I am absolutely happy with them (those I left on the bench). We have to see recovery before putting our line up for the final.”

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