KBFC vs ATK: Habas disappointed with 'unfortunate' loss
by Shubham Sharma
Kerala Blasters' head coach was pleased with the win but ATK boss Habas felt they were unlucky to be on the losing end.
Kerala Blasters defeated ATK by 2-1 in the opening match of the Indian Super League at home to begin their campaign in style. ATK found the early lead in the match through Irishman Carl McHugh, but Ogbeche's back to back goals in the first half itself, first through a penalty and then a strike just before the stroke of midway mark helped the hosts to come from behind to earn the win.
The Dutchman was pleased with the winning start but was unhappy with Arques' injury. "I’m happy we have three points, I am, but I felt really frustrated after we lost Mario Arques. He played 45 minutes in the pre-season. it was a risk to use him and he goes out with another injury."
"We lost Sandesh (Jhingan) in the pre-season. Very difficult to make a responsible decision on who to pick. Let’s see how the players get out of this. I think we deserved to win. The players had a fantastic mentality on the field. TP Rehenesh got injured, he twisted his ankle and could hardly walk so we had to use Bilal (Khan). He has no experience in the Hero ISL," he further added.
Inspite of the win Schattorie stated the team needs to improve in some areas. “Overall there are some areas we must fix. We are very, very happy with the three points and the commitment of the players. First-half, we played some football. In the second half, it was about surviving. ATK only got chances through free kicks, but we conceded some stupid free-kicks. Overall the defence was good, I think,” he said.
A lot of people were surprised to find one Sahal out of the starting eleven, as the Al Ain-born midfielder was a key part of the squad last season. The Dutchman explained why he chose to leave him out. "Sahal (Abdul Samad) is a fantastic player but he was absent from the whole pre-season, it will take him some time to integrate into my system. That is the same for a few players. Jeakson started well in the pre-season. I must take decisions on the right balance, and I think Jeakson was a bit quicker. His first-half was not bad, but he is just 18 and playing at this level for the first time. As I said before, I don’t mind using young players, but they need to bring something to the table. In the second-half, he dropped a bit that is why we had to take him off."
Asked if his side panicked after conceding first in the game, the gaffer said, "If you look at my history, I have won many games after conceding first. The good thing is the way Ogbeche stepped up was fantastic. All players were working hard. I don’t think ATK were dangerous. The free-kicks we gave away came about because we were a little bit too enthusiastic."
ATK head coach Antonio Lopez Habas was obviously not too pleased with the loss, stating that his team were unlucky not to win the tie. “We did not convert nearly 6-7 chances which should have been converted. The penalty (Kerala’s) was unfair on us. We had a penalty call before that, but the referee missed it,” the Spaniard said.
ATK assistant coach Manuel Cascallana echoed head coach's view, saying his team did well inspite of the defeat, “We played a great match. We saw a really good performance on the pitch in the first 45 minutes. Last minute of the first half we conceded a goal, and later in the second half, we had many chances. So, it was really good from the team."