Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], March 14 (ANI): Hyderabad FC head coach Manolo Marquez applauded the efforts of his players despite their loss against ATK Mohun Bagan in the Indian Super League (ISL) semi-final second leg at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, in Kolkata, on Monday and noted how his team is giving a fight to all big teams in the league despite being only four years old in existence.
Both sides played out a goalless draw in the second leg, identical to the scoreline in the first leg. The game headed into penalty shootouts as neither team failed to break the deadlock in extra-time. Two missed penalties from Javier Siverio and Bartholomew Ogbeche gave the Mariners an upper hand as they advanced through the final after defender and captain Pritam Kotal converted the final penalty for the Kolkata-based side.
Marquez commented on the approach of both sides across the two legs, and felt it was a cagey affair in the extra-time.
"In the first leg, both teams were ready to decide the game in the second leg. Tonight, we started the game very well in the initial minutes, but they finished the game better in the 90 minutes. In the extra time, I think both teams were extremely tired and I don't remember there being clear chances on both ends. For me, penalties are not a lottery although people might call it one," he stated in the official pre-match press conference as quoted by an ISL press release.
The Spaniard lauded his opponents for the win whilst also applauding his team for their consistency over three seasons.
"Two bad penalties or one with bad luck because it hit the post and sometimes that goes in for the goal. Ultimately we lost, but congratulations to ATK Mohun Bagan for qualifying in the final. Also, huge congratulations for our team because at this moment it seems that it is very normal that Hyderabad FC are always on top. We are a team with only four years of existence and we are fighting with all the big teams," he said.
"We finished second in the regular season and earned more points than ATK Mohun Bagan, Bengaluru FC, and Kerala Blasters FC. Big congratulations and hats off to my players because it's three consecutive seasons of fighting in the top half of the table," he concluded. (ANI)