NorthEast United FC head coach Robert Jarni has stated that the late penalty-kick they got could be counted as a free-kick and believed that it was a clear penalty after the ball was stopped by hand inside the box. He also praised the quality he has on the bench, which eventually changed the match.
NEUFC extended their unbeaten run in the ISL to four matches on Wednesday, but more importantly, they got their first away win at the G.M.C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium. After a gruelling first 45 minutes, the Highlanders finally got a hold of the match in the second half and their relentless attacking fetched them a penalty at the 86th minute.
It looked one of those NEUFC attacks that would have been blocked by HFC’s brave defence once again, but Jose Leudo's low shot saw Shankar Sampingraj trying to bend low for a header when the ball struck his hands. While the attempt looked intentional and the call harsh to many, Jarni thought otherwise.
“The penalty kick can be counted like a set-piece, but we were attacking. They stopped the ball with the hand, so it was a penalty. But we are not looking for penalties or freekicks. We were attacking so we got the penalty. Set pieces are something different, we have to work on it and they can give us the three points,” said the Croatian manager at the post-match press-conference, reports ISL website.
Hosts Hyderabad FC haven’t been the best side in the league owing to their long injury list but a better organized NorthEast United FC still didn’t look assuring enough in the first half with a string of loose plays. The game changed when Jarni brought on Maximiliano Barreiro and Wayne Vaz at the stroke of the second half.
“We prepared knowing that it was going to be a very intense game. We didn’t play the first half well. We made changes at half-time to get more chances from the game and it was useful. Of course, every time we get the three points, we are satisfied with the team. Now we have 21 days to prepare for the next match, so we are happy,” he added.
However, the biggest blow for the Highlanders would be the injury if Asamoah Gyan, who was taken off two minutes into the second-half after he pulled a groin muscle. And although Panagiotis Triadis and Barreiro did get the job done for NEUFC, Jarni will be concerned.
“When you make two changes at half-time, you don’t expect to make one just 10 minutes later. But sometimes that happens. Sometimes we must adapt to the situation. We had very good players on the bench and as you saw they can change the game. The players we had on the bench had more possession and they were more attacking so that made all the difference.
“It’s too early to talk about any injuries that happen in a game. So, we must wait to know more about the injury. We will conduct some tests in the hospital as soon as we can and then we will know,” he added.
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