I-League: Neroca FC coach disappointed with arbitration

IMPHAL: After going down to East bengal 1-4 in their second game at home I-League this season, Neroca FC coach Raikhan Gift minced no words in saying that he was happy with the performance his inexperienced wards put up against a heavyweight side like East bengal but disappointed with refereeing.

"Everybody could see the way referee was conducting the match. I am happy with my boys' but not at all happy with referee's performance. He gave away two easy penalties and a free-kick from a dangerous position against us, didn't even think for two seconds before taking the decisions. Players were lying injured, assistant referees were showing offside flags, fouls but the referee was not paying any heed, he carried on with the play. This is unacceptable. For me the score is 1-1. I am not keeping the other three goals from set-pieces in my mind, so 1-1 in open play against a team like East bengal is good for us," explained a visibly upset Raikhan.

About his boys' performance, Raikhan added, "They put up a good fight. They are inexperienced so it's easy to make mistakes. They made few mistakes and East bengal pounced on them. Credit to East bengal for winning the match 4-1 but I am also happy with my boys' performance. I hope they will learn from their mistakes and when we play East bengal in the return leg we will be a much improved team. We will give a tougher fight to them."

His East bengal counterpart Alejandro Menéndez He was happy to score his first league victory on the third attempt. It's good to get our first league victory. We were also creating opportunities before, but we didn't get the goals. Today we scored four, so I'm happy with the performance. I hope the children continue to improve and continue to win holistically in the next games, said the 53-year-old.