A draw is always better than a loss – Habas

Antonio López Habas

The first leg of Atlético de Kolkata’s semi-final against Goa was their final home game of the inaugural edition of the Hero Indian Super League, and the team put in a trademark fighting display in a 0-0 draw.  However, they would have dearly wanted the win as it would have given them a crucial advantage heading into the second leg in Goa. But head coach Antonio López Habas was not perturbed by his side’s inability to get the win.

 “We had a very good game today. We could not score, but we created a lot of chances to find our way to the final. I prefer today’s result because a draw is always better than a loss,” said the Spaniard at the post-match press conference, before adding that he was proud of the players for playing as well as they did despite the absence of a few key players. “It is very difficult to play without five regular players, so I am not at all disappointed with the result. I am happy with the performance of my team and with the result, I congratulate my players for the way they played this match.”

The Kolkata gaffer dismissed a suggestion from the media that his team would be better served with Subhasish Roy Choudhary in goal ahead of the in-form Armenian Apoula Edel Bete, as it would allow them to play another foreign player in an outfield position and perhaps augment the team’s attack. “He did pretty well in the games he played, maybe he will play in the future games also, but it is my job as a coach to take a decision, and I can’t explain my decisions to the media,” retorted Habas.

Habas acknowledged the difficulty in the upcoming second leg, with his side needing a win on Goa’s home patch in order to make it to the final. But he pointed out that it would be just as tough an assignment for Goa. “It will be a very difficult match for both the teams, not only for us. Goa will also need to score in that match if they want to go through the final,” stated the head coach. “It will be tough out there in Goa, but remember, we have already won an away match there.”

The Spaniard brushed aside concerns regarding his team’s inefficiency in front of the goal. “We are not very worried about that. I guess as we started our campaign with a big win (3-0 over Mumbai City in the ISL’s opening match) it created a lot of expectations, but we obviously got enough goals to reach the semifinals and hopefully we will score enough to stay alive and make it to the final,” Habas concluded.

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