ATK-Mohun Bagan head coach Antonio Lopez Habas admitted that his side had no intentions of taking the game to extra-time against Northeast United FC in the second-leg of the semi-finals. The ‘Mariners’ will defend their title against Mumbai City FC at the Fatorda Stadium, this Saturday evening.
With the aggregate tied at 1-1 after an action-packed first-leg last weekend, ATK-Mohun Bagan had no other option but to log full points against Northeast United FC and avoid a shoot-out at the end. The Mariners started the game slowly and stepped up the tempo going along, with David Williams and Manvir Singh netting on either half on the counter to see them through with a 2-1 win. Their head coach Antonio Lopez Habas mentioned that ATK had no intentions of taking the game to extra-time.
"We knew that we have to win the match. We didn't want to go to extra-time. Now the players are tired, there is a lot of humidity and there is the Covid-19. In the first 45 minutes, the team had intensity," said Antonio Lopez Habas, following the win.
"NorthEast United had a fantastic season. They had players in attack and defence. Not easy for anyone to win. Today we were superior and better. I want to help the players recover, analyze the situation and compete. This team (Mumbai City FC) has one thing in clear that they are very competitive. It will be very difficult for the opponents," added the manager.
While Williams scored the scores in the 38th minute, Manvir doubled the lead in the 68th. Just when the Mariners were strolling away with the game, Suhair VP pulled one back in the 74th minute. Khalid’s men had a golden opportunity to restore parity, but Luis Machado’s miss from the spot rested the contest altogether. Habas later admitted that the character shown by the team was worth applauding.
"I am very happy with the performance of the players and the staff. The team has good character. Maybe the players think a lot about the final. We didn't have any problem in the match," informed the Spaniard.