East Bengal FC head coach Stephen Constantine felt his side were unlucky and was disappointed that his side could not build on their lead as they suffered a 3-1 defeat against Odisha FC in Matchweek 14 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23, at the Kalinga Stadium, in Bhubaneswar, on Saturday. 

Cleiton Silva gave East Bengal FC the lead with a fine goal, but Odisha FC staged an impressive comeback as Diego Mauricio’s brace and Nandhakumar Sekar’s strike saw the Kalinga Warriors return to winning ways. The result sees Odisha FC leapfrog FC Goa on the fifth spot while the Red & Golds continue to stay ninth in the league standings. 

Constantine made it clear that it would take a lot for his side to get into the top six and stated that his team will continue fighting till the end. 

“I said when I first came here that getting into the top six would take a miracle. That’s still the case. There are 24 points left (from eight games) and while we’re mathematically in with a chance, we will fight every game and try every opportunity to get three points. We have a home game next week and our target will be as it was here – to get three points. We had a good start, we could have continued that. We didn't have luck on our side today,” Constantine said at the post-match press conference. 

Constantine felt Odisha FC’s opening two goals could have been avoided and said it was down to individual errors. 

“We made some individual mistakes. Lalchungnunga got beat at the corner, (Maurcio was) his man, you don’t want that to happen. The second goal was a complete fluke. He (Sekar) crossed the ball and it went into the top corner and I don’t think you can legislate for that,” he explained. 

East Bengal FC midfielder Himanshu Jangra, who made his Hero ISL debut, was taken off before half-time after suffering a knock. Striker Cleiton Silva was also not able to play the entire game as he was replaced by Mohammad Rakip. Constantine offered an update on the injury status of both players.

“He’s had a bad knock to the ankle. Not sure how serious it is. Again, that’s another player (who has gone injured). It was clearly a foul. He’s out, don’t know for how long. Cleiton went down and was feeling a bit tight in the hamstring. We could have kept him in and made things worse. Hopefully, he will be okay,” he concluded.