Atletico de Kolkata faced a torrid first half, but bounced back well towards the end to earn a battling draw, said coach Jose Molina, after watching his men hold 10-men Mumbai City FC to a 1-1 draw at the Mumbai Football Arena on Tuesday. Molina was disappointed with his team's first-half display, and didn't hold back his words at the post-match press conference.
"We didn't play very well in the opening 45 minutes. The performance was not good. They scored one goal and had 2-3 clear chances to score another. At half-time, we were talking about the need to improve because we didn't play well. Despite them having (many) chances, we were still down only 1-0," the Spaniard said.
However, following the interval, Kolkata fought back well. And once they were level, Molina said, they tried to go for the win and earn all three points rather than sit back and settle for a draw. "We fought in the next 45 minutes and tried to win. The second half was a really good performance. We were the better team after the break. We deserved at least a point. I believe it was a game of one half to each team. It was a fair result," he said.
Molina changed his personnel and formation, and said it was tactical decisions rather than injuries that forced the change. "It was a tactical change, as I was not happy with the performance in the first 45 minutes. We tried to change something and play in a different formation. I think the players did a good job, we dominated and deserved a point," he said.
When asked about what he did to change the game after a disappointing first half, Molina said, "We changed our formation in the second half. We played Javi in the middle with Borja, and played with two wingers. In the second half, we were absolutely better. We dominated the match and the changes worked."
Another reason for the match turning on its head was the red card shown to Mumbai City FC's Pronay Halder. Molina said the midfielder deserved to be booked. In fact, Halder had earlier escaped a booking after having elbowed a Kolkata player during the match. Molina was seen arguing with the fourth official following this incident.
"The referee decided to give a second yellow card to the Mumbai player. Of course, it was better to play 11 vs 10. Mumbai defended well in the second half; we deserved a point. Maybe we could have scored another. We didn't create too many clear chances in the second half. They have a great goalkeeper," he said.