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Since 1st March, 1999
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Habeeb points a finger at referee after defeat
- I knew it would be tough, says Mahindra coach

Calcutta, Aug. 9: Mahindra United coach David Booth said he was right in assuming that it would be a tough final to win. Mohammed Habeeb, on the other hand, felt Mohammedan Sporting were denied a couple of penalties.

“We realised we had to contain a speedy team on their home ground and that was a tough ask,” Booth said after his team won 1-0 at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday to clinch the Tata Federation Cup for the first time. “But I understand that my half-line failed to support this idea of mine because the defence was sitting pretty, refusing to move. You need a dynamic situation to let the whole team move, and that was not being possible in the first half.”

He said this was the primary breach that allowed in so many Mohammedan Sporting attacks, “so many lobs to the goalmouth and so many attempts. I corrected this anomaly at the interval and the team was back to normal in the second session and I don’t think there was any major incident of a defence breach in this session of play,” said Booth.

Manager Henry Menezes said the Mahindra authorities are excited about this win and there is a possibility of a reward waiting for them. But more importantly, they are looking to develop this team into something better, to go through the rigours to come, and “we are looking to include some more players, foreign or Indian, to boost the line-up.”

Menezes also added they have complained to the AIFF against the IFA for the unavailability of practice ground on the eve of the final.

Habeeb said it was true that they missed a lot of chances in the first half, but the refereeing let them down. “Whenever Dipendu would go into the attack the whistle blew,” said Habeeb.

Club secretary Sultan Ahmed said he would soon be getting Nigerian John Ugwo to sign, to boost the line-up.

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