Losing goalkeeper cost us, rues JFC coach Coppell

Subrata Pal red-carded in seventh minute of crucial match against FC Goa

By Our Special Correspondent in Jamshedpur
  • Published 6.03.18
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OUTPLAYED: Jamshedpur FC (red) and Goa FC in action during the ISL match at JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur on Sunday. Picture by Bhola Prasad

Jamshedpur: The loss of custodian Subrata Pal early in the match after being red-carded for handling the ball in the penalty area proved to be the difference between host Jamshedpur FC and winner Goa FC in the crucial ISL tie at JRD Tata Sports Complex on Sunday.

At the post-match press conference, JFC head coach Steve Coppell said Pal's exit in the seventh minute of the first half led to JFC getting knocked out of the ISL.

"Losing the goalkeeper early and playing the rest of the match with 10 players, including new goalkeeper Sanjiban Ghosh who made his debut, created a void which was hard to fill. It had nothing to do with defensive lapses. Given the quality of Goa FC players, for us to stick around for so long was a great testament to the determination and willpower of my players," said Coppell, the former Manchester United player.

JFC CEO Mukul Choudhari put up a brave front despite the 0-3 drubbing when asked about the team's performance in their debut season. "It was a fantastic tournament for the team and the players. It was also a learning experience for us. We will review things and iron out the grey areas. At the moment, we are happy with the way the team fared in the competition (fifth in the points table)," said Choudhari, a former director-academy of the Manchester United Soccer Schools initiative in India.

Choudhari refused to divulge the strategy for drafting players for the next season the bidding for which would be held later this year. "We will be taking a look at all the sectors- defence, midfield, forward - before taking a call on picking players," said Choudhari.

He said Jamshedpur FC was eager to prove its class in the Indian Super Cup starting in Kerala from March 31. Incidentally, six teams from ISL and as many from the I-League will play in the Super Cup.

However, soccer veterans believe that Indian players did not play up to the expectations and there was a need for a supporting striker of the class of Wellington Priori.

"One of the costliest players of ISL, Anas Edathodika, (Rs 1.2 crore) played little for the team while ageing players such as Mehtab Hossain and Ashim Biswas did not show their class. In the early stages of the competition, lack of sting in the forward line was evident. The team forward looked different after Priori started playing," said P.S. Chatterjee, veteran footballer and president of Jamshedpur Diamond Football Academy, a JSA super-league team.