Mumbai: Defending champions Bengaluru FC yet again failed to garner all three points as they played out a goalless draw against minnows Mumbai FC here, on Saturday. The southerners are now without a win in the last six games, and sit fourth in the table, eight points behind league leaders East Bengal.
With only nine games left, their title aspirations may have been dealt a heavy blow, but the two-time I-League champions are not ready to lay down their arms. Bengaluru’s head coach Albert Roca vowed to fight till the last game of the season.
“We never surrender, we are Bengaluru FC,” said Roca after the game. “We will try to be there till the last game of the season. It’s going to be difficult as everything doesn’t depend on us. I am proud of my team. The team’s intention is to win.”
Refereeing was once again at the centre of attention. Roca was furious with the match referee’s decision to award only three minutes stoppage time at the end of the second half normal time. The Bengaluru coach also accused Mumbai of time wasting and negative football.
“I don’t understand why the referees always allow the opponent teams to waste time. And today, the referee gave only three minutes as extra time. It goes against us, against the team which has the intention to win. It helps the opponent which doesn’t want to win.”
“Do you think three minutes was enough as extra time, with six substitutes and all the injuries?” asked a furious looking Roca at the post-match press conference.
Mumbai FC coach Santosh Kashyap, however, did not agree with the Bengaluru coach.
“I can’t say much, it’s his view. We played a very attacking game, we defended, and we pressed. It was a very equal game,” said the Mumbai gaffer.
Kashyap - whose team is now out of the relegation zone – was not content with a point, and said that the aim for the team is to finish in top 3.
“I am satisfied, not happy,” said Kashyap. “We did well against a very strong opposition; the team is well settled now. We will take on match at a time but the aim is to win all of the remaining games. We want to finish in the top 3.”
Goal-shy Bengaluru created a lot of chances but failed to convert even one, with skipper Sunil Chhetri’s 82nd minute effort saved off the line. The last four draws have come at the back off two losses and the Spanish coach is hoping to build on the recent results.
“We had some turbulent time in between, when we lost two games, but from there the team has done a very good job. We were very close to winning, against Aizawl, Minerva, so I can’t complain. We have to continue working hard,” added Roca....