Puneri Paltan’s coach Anup Kumar, after his team’s 3 point loss against Bengal, said that he warned the players to not be aggressive and they made a mistake which cost them the game. Puneri Paltan were leading for the majority of the second half but lost the game after they conceded a 5-point raid.
Puneri Paltan lost their 8th game of the season and that puts them in 10th place on the points table. In the first half, Bengal gained early lead courtesy of a 3 point Super Raid by Maninder Singh and successfully inflicted an all-out, 9 minutes into the game. Pune though, came back stronger and inflicted an all-out on the Bengal Warriors with just 3 minutes left for first-half. It meant that the half ended with a score of 20-21 in favour of the Bengal Warriors.
“Yes, I think we were winning the game but gave it away. It’s not like experienced players can’t make mistakes. Towards the end, our defenders were a bit aggressive. They made a mistake despite me warning them and making them understand what not to do,” Anup Kumar said in the post-match press conference.
Puneri Paltan steadily marched ahead but build a lead due to Pankaj Mohite’s performance in raiding and Manjeet performance in defence. They inflicted another all-out and had a lead of 7 points with 9 minutes to go. Then a super raid by Mohammad Nabibakhsh, where he ousted three players and led their team to an all-out, cut that lead to just one-point.
“At that point of time, it was best that we played on the Do-or-Die raid. Pankaj Mohite was raiding well and if he could have gotten us a point and extended our lead from six to seven, then it would have been beneficial for us,” Anup said while answering a question about his thought process of playing on do-or-die in the end.
Puneri Paltan's defence did well apart from a single mistake at the end with Hadi Tajik, Manjeet and Girish Ernak scoring 3 points each. The raiders, on the other hand, were the stars, as Pankaj Mohite scored the first Super Ten of his career and he was supported by Manjeet who scored 7 points. The team did well but one mistake eventually ended up costing them the match.
“It will be an uphill task but that is my job. I have to motivate the team because they played very well against a good team in Bengal Warriors. And if we play intelligently, unlike what we did towards the end of tonight’s game, I think we can still make the Playoffs,” Anup Kumar concluded.