Kolkata, March 14 (IANS) After reaching the finals of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23, ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando said that his teams’ mentality to win and attack was the same during the second leg of semi-final against Hyderabad FC, here.
Mariners beat Hyderabad FC on penalties in the second leg of the ISL semi-final at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Monday night.
The second leg saw both teams trying their best to outsmart each other with half-chances falling to both teams from the beginning. Neither side were able to score after 120 minutes of football in Kolkata. The match was decided in the penalty shootout with Javier Siverio and Bartholomew Ogbeche missing for Hyderabad FC. ATK Mohun Bagan captain Pritam Kotal scored the winning penalty to help his side qualify for the ISL final.
The high-stake second leg clash was a cagey affair for the whole of 120 minutes with three shots on target for the home side and only one for Manolo Marquez’s side. Fernando shed light on how the team’s mentality remained the same for the whole match and he was pleased with his players’ efforts.
“Our plan was the same all the time, in the whole match the team tried to attack and create chances. We were unlucky to not convert but I’m happy that the team tried their best. After the 75th-minute mark, it was obvious for the players to get tired, it was difficult to make substitutions because you don’t know whether the match is going to end in 90 minutes or go to the extra time for 120 minutes. Our mentality was the same all the time, to win and attack,” Ferrando said in the post-match press conference.
With both semi-finals being decided by penalties, the ISL has taken the fans on an emotional rollercoaster at best. Ferrando explained how he asked his players to keep their emotions in check and the advantage of penalties.
“I was talking to my players to give them the details and explain tactical points. All the messages and feedback were positive, we tried to trust in our way, in ourselves. It’s very important for the players to control their emotions because they were very tired, it’s not easy, it was the same for us and for Hyderabad FC and one mistake can be a great opportunity for the opponents. Penalties are like a coin, we don’t like to conclude the whole season based on that but it’s part of football,” Ferrando said.
The home team were backed by their passionate supporters, who cheered the Mariners on every move. In the end, Ferrando’s side delivered by booking their ticket for the final in the most nerve-racking style. The coach thanked the fans for coming out to support the team and requested them to travel to Goa for the final.
“We’re very happy because I know when we play at home the supporters are very close to the players and the support is amazing. In some moments of the match when the players are tired and not feeling fresh, the supporters tried to help the players and we’re very happy that we have reached the final while playing at home. The mood and the vibes are great and now we’re looking forward to Saturday. I hope the fans are traveling to Goa for the final and the atmosphere for ATK Mohun Bagan is going to be fantastic,” he said.
ATK Mohun Bagan will now take on Bengaluru FC for the ultimate prize in the ISL final. Both teams have secured a victory each while playing against each other in the league stage.
The Mariners’ head coach talked about the quality that the Blues possess and expressed his 100 per cent trust in his team.
“For the opponents, we know when we played them (Bengaluru FC) away we won and when they came here, they won against us so it’s going to be an interesting match in the final. They have a very good squad with very good players. I hope we play much better as a team and we’ll have chances if we play as a team. We have time to prepare the plan and this team is ready to play with 2-3 different plans and I have 100 percent trust in my team,” Ferrando concluded.