Both teams defended well, it was a fair result: SC East Bengal’s Tomislav Mrcela

SC East Bengal defender Tomislav Mrcela heaped praise on his team for the improved display and also felt that the 1-1 result was a fair one against Kerala Blasters FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 at the Tilak Maidan, on Sunday.

The Red and Gold brigade drew first blood in the 37th minute, by virtue of a header from Mrcela, while Blasters’ Alvaro Vasquez restored parity seven minutes later to help his team salvage a point from the hard-fought encounter.

“Yeah, I think it was a hard game. It was realistic at the end, it was a fair result. Both the team's gave a really hard game to each other. We created some chances, so did they. But I think overall, the defense of both teams did a great job today,” said Mrcela, after the draw.

The footballer was all praise for the players as they showed a much improved display from the previous outing, especially with the shape they kept throughout the game.

“We're working pretty much on everything. What you said, the shape we kept was really good. We're defending better as a collective unit and it starts from the striker. So today, they (strikers) were fantastic up front, so it’s not easy for them to run in defense, and then we expect them to score and be fresh in front of their opposition goal. But they really gave a good shift. I think we showed a lot of improvement from the previous games,” added the SC East Bengal stopper.

Kerala Blasters FC skipper Jessel Carneiro admitted that the lack of openings created in the match was solely responsible for the result, as the team was expecting no less than three points from the clash.

“It is frustrating because I think we will need points and these points will be very crucial for us. Getting the points would make it very easy for us to make it to the semi-finals. And I think we should find different openings (ways) to see how we can score, but we did our best. We didn’t find the opening. So we'll try our best to find openings and create more chances,” said Carneiro, during the post-match interview.

Blasters’ midfielder Adrian Luna, who was awarded the Hero of the Match, expressed displeasure with the way they conceded the goal and also for not creating enough chances after the 44th minute equaliser.

“No, of course I'm not happy, because we dominated the game. They scored from the throw-in. I know that we made a mistake, and these things can happen. But, we did not find the openings after we scored the first one. I am very disappointed because we wanted three points,” said the playmaker.

SC East Bengal will be up against NorthEast United FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Fatorda, on December 17. On the other hand, Kerala Blasters FC will be up against Mumbai City FC at the Athletic Stadium, in Bambolim, Goa on December 19.

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