ATK coach Steve Coppell and NorthEast United assistant coach Shaun Ontong, both seemed pretty satisfied with the end result of the match between their respective teams yesterday. NEUFC and ATK played out a 0-0 draw at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati to share the points.
A match sans any goal was presented to the spectators at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium at Guwahati yesterday when the NorthEast United met the ATK at home. NorthEast, after the draw, now stands second on the points table with a total of 20 points after 11 matches they have played while ATK
"To come here is a difficult task. We looked to attack without overcommitting ourselves. I think if you come here and overcommit, they will take advantage. They had a couple of shots from distance, but apart from that, I can’t remember them creating a great deal whereas when I look at what we did, I thought we had some really good opportunities. It was a very tight game. Two teams who were evenly matched. But I felt we edged it," Coppell said.
The Northeast United team have already lost two crucial players in Kalu Uche and Emiliano Alfaro to the injuries and hence did not possess the same firepower. But though the coach lamented the injured players’ lack of availability he also praised the stand-in striker Balwant Singh and prodded the youngster to score a goal in his next outing against the table toppers Bengaluru FC.
"It was bound to have an effect. I thought Balwant Singh tonight, once again, was excellent. He led the line well by himself. I thought he had a very strong performance for us. I was pleased with what he did. These things happen in football. You lose players but we’re not going to complain. Balwant filled big shoes. It would be nice for him if he can finish it off with a goal. Maybe against Bengaluru."
On the other hand, ATK too seemed pretty happy with the outcome of the match. Assistant coach Shaun Ontong said that his team defended well and that enabled them to stay in the game throughout. Though he also suggested that more
"Obviously you don’t go into any game wanting to draw the game. But considering our schedule and what we’ve had to overcome, we’re extremely happy and extremely proud of the guys. It was a very fatigued team out there, but we defended very well. Although we didn’t create as many chances as we wanted to, I still think we defended very well and dominated most of the game," he said.
"We don’t know that yet. It’s something that we will discuss with the staff and see how he is tomorrow. Obviously, with back-to-back matches and the way we have been playing and travelling, yes it can be part of it. It’s really unfortunate that he had to come off tonight."
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