Odisha FC head coach Sergio Lobera expressed disappointment as his team was held to a 0-0 draw by East Bengal FC in Matchweek 11 of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium in Kolkata on Friday.

The Kalinga Warriors almost got their lead early on in the game when the 22-year-old Isak Vanlalruatfela made a mockery of the East Bengal FC backline in the ninth minute of the match but a weak connection with the ball at the end sent it right in the hands of Prabhsukhan Gill, keeping the scores level. In the 27th minute, East Bengal FC forward Nandhakumar Sekar showed some excellent footwork dribbling past three Odisha FC defenders casually but a tight angle forced the deadlock to continue. 

Waves of attack kept coming from both sides but neither team gave up, concluding the match at 0-0 for the first time between the two sides.

The head coach felt disappointed not being able to take home all three points off the fixture and wants his team to be more clinical in the final third.

“They are celebrating the draw because I think they got the target (they set) and obviously I am not happy because I think we need to be more clinical in the last third. We dominated the game, we have the possession of the ball. It's difficult to have a lot of chances in games like this, when the opponent team is playing very, very defensive, it's difficult to find spaces in the opponent's half. And when you have two or three chances, you need to score these goals. I am disappointed because I think we came here to try to win, but we didn't (do) it,” stated Lobera in the post-match press conference. 

The resilience from the Red and Gold Brigade seemed to have gotten under the nerves of Lobera. 

Looking forward to taking lessons from the game, the Spaniard shared, “Today we played against a team who played very defensive like they did in Mumbai. It's not easy to play when the opponent team is playing, practically with all the players in their half. It's difficult to find spaces, but we need to learn about this. There are no excuses. Every coach tries to do the best for the team to get the results. And we need to learn about this in the next game. It is a new situation for us.” 

Justifying the novelty of the situation, Lobera added, “For example, one player following Ahmed (Jahouh) during the game, (it) is a new situation for us. And, we need to try to improve for the next game, playing against teams like this.”

The 46-year-old explained his tactics and shared how Odisha FC missed their attacking midfielders. 

“The situation is we miss a lot, our attacking midfield. I think today, playing against teams like this, especially with also all in this position, we needed to use Puitea (Lalthathanga Khawlhring), he is not a specific attacking midfield. We miss Cy (Stephen Goddard). There are not excuses, because it's not possible to lose two points, because (of) one player. And they are very dangerous in the counter-attacks when they are recovering the ball. I thought, maybe the last substitutions go, Siverio and, and Cleiton, and I prefer to keep the two center backs, foreign players,” he said.