FC Pune City earned bragging rights from the Indian Super League (ISL) 2016 season's second Maharashtra Derby, after a late Eugenson Lygdoh goal handed them the spoils on a day when Mumbai City FC were the better team through 90 minutes.
Antonio Habas, FC Pune City manager, was clearly delighted with a result that pushed his team from second-last in the ISL 2016 league table to fourth. "I'm happy for the players. We know matches were very similar. In Pune, Mumbai didn't deserve to win, but they did. And today, we didn't deserve, maybe but we did," said Habas.
Mumbai City FC coach Alexandre Guimaraes, on the other hand, cut a dejected figure. "It really is a shame that we didn't take any points from the game, because we did all we had to do to get the points. We tried to penetrate in different ways in their wall, tried to change positions, tried to win duels. We had our chances but we didn't get one in. They got the end result of the game," he said.
"But this happens and we are still in a good position. It's a reminder for us that it won't be easy to get into the play-offs. I'm sure the players know the situation, and we'll try harder in the next game," he added.
The last Maharashtra derby came during a period of turmoil for FC Pune City; they had just lost marquee player Eidur Gudjohnssen to injury, and an undeserved 1-0 loss at home to Mumbai worsened the situation. "We changed our marquee player in pre-season. The team was new and we needed time to adapt. The players are doing their best and we want to get to the play-offs. Who would have thought Atletico de Kolkata would win the title in ISL 2014, but they did manage that! So, who knows what could happen with us," said Antonio Habas, Pune manager, who had won the title back in 2014 with the Kolkata outfit.
The short nature of the league means that FC Pune City are now fourth in the table, and Mumbai City FC are a mere three points ahead of them. Guimares acknowledged that there is still plenty to play for and that their play-off berth is not confirmed. "This happens and we are still in a good position. It's a reminder for us that it won't be easy to get to top four. I'm sure the players know the situation and in the next game we'll try harder," he said.
Speaking of the goalkeeping error that led to Eugenson's winner, Guimaraes said he would continue to support his goalkeeper Albino Gomes. "He had done well for us. It happens to any keeper. He has my confidence and players learn from mistakes. He has to show his character now to get up," Guimares said.
Guimaraes also praised striker Sunil Chettri, who returned from a good spell with Bengaluru FC in the AFC Cup. Chettri's link-up with Diego Forlan was a sign of good things to come, said the Costa Rican boss. "They're good players and will find each other as much as they play together, and they showed today what they can do. Because of injuries, we had to put Sunil on the left. And he did well. The most important thing is that he showed today that he can help us very much," said the Mumbai City FC coach.
Mumbai are now on 15 points in the ISL 2016 league table, while Pune are on 12; they sit in second and fourth spot respectively.