ISL 2019-20 | We won because of quality players like Aridane Santana, admits Josep Gombau

ISL 2019-20 | We won because of quality players like Aridane Santana, admits Josep Gombau

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Odisha FC Head coach Josep Gombau has credited the team's narrow 2-1 win over Jamshedpur FC 2-1 to quality attacking players like Aridane Santana, who scored a brace. Santana’s twin strikes either side of an Aitor Monroy penalty sealed the win in Odisha’s first-ever match at the Kalinga Stadium. 

With the stadium revamped, Odisha’s move from their temporary home in Pune to their actual home ground in Bhubaneswar for the first time ever kicked off on a sweet note. Courtesy of their win, Gombau’s men are now just one point off the top four, with Gombau applauding the support his side got throughout the 90 minutes.

“I think we played a good game in this difficult situation. It was a very equal game, but I think we won because we have quality players like Aridane in the front. He scored an amazing second goal. The second half was very open with a lot of situations,” Gombau said at the post-match press conference, reported the official ISL website.

“It was a very good feeling to play at home. We are so grateful to the people who came to the stadium and helped us in our first game here at the Kalinga Stadium in Odisha. It was difficult to play today because the pitch wasn’t in the strongest condition,” the Spaniard said.

Odisha’s underlying defensive issues came to the forefront when they conceded a clumsy penalty in the 38th minute. However, the Odisha head coach has much less to worry about at the other end as their attackers continue to shine. 

“It’s true he (Santana) has scored six goals for us. Also, Xisco (Hernandez) has scored four. Others have scored one. The striking position is very important, and we brought him here because we know his quality. He is a player who not just scores goals. He is very good in the air. We are so happy with him and he is also very humble. He helps the younger players,” Gombau said.

With eight matches remaining — and five of them at home — the 43-year-old was keen on the proper recovery of his players ahead of their next clash against Chennaiyin FC

“We have ten days for the next game. We need to recover some players. We have a long time to prepare for the next game which will be against Chennaiyin (FC). It will be a difficult game because they are playing very well. We will work hard to try and win. We need to be strong. We have eight games in front of us to finish in the top four. Five are at home and we will try to be strong,” Gombau added.

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