Loss against Al-Shabab won’t change our targets in the AFC Champions League: Mumbai City FC’s Des Buckingham

Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham admitted that the loss against Al-Shabab in their opening match of the 2022 AFC Champions League campaign won’t change their approach going forward. The ISL side lost 0-3 to the Saudi Arabia side at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium, in Riyadh, on Friday evening.

Argentine playmaker Ever Banega scored twice, while Turki Al-Ammar struck the third one to log full points for the local side. The Islanders, making their debut in the elite competition, will be aiming to salvage positive results from the remaining matches in the group stage.

Buckingham addressed the media during the pre-match press conference after Friday’s loss.

Here are the excerpts from the press conference:

What is your assessment of the game?

I thought it was a good game. It was our first game in this level of competition. Especially in the first half, we gave a very good account of ourselves. And I thought that the penalty was the turning point in the game. In the second half, knowing the quality Al-Shabab had, we were proud of our players and how we continued to play. We built up in good areas of the field, but we just lacked the final-third quality.

Also Read: Mumbai City FC fall to determined Al-Shabab in AFC Champions League

Now that Mumbai City FC have lost the first match. How does it affect your targets for the second match and the rest of the campaign?

It does not change our targets. It was important that the players got an opportunity to play in front of a crowd and secondly, at this level of competition and against quality players and a quality team like Al-Shabab. So, we are going to take the experience from this game. There are positives, which we will certainly take into the next game. It doesn’t change our target, which was to come here and be the first Indian team to win at this level.

You have mentioned a few times of how your team played well in the first half. But what happened in the second half?

We conceded two more goals. But, for me, the decision to give a penalty in the first half, I think that was a big turning point in the game. I’m not convinced that was a penalty. I think it was out of the box and not sure how much contact was there. That was a big turning point for a team that worked extremely hard. But, that’s not an excuse for the second half. We still came out and brought in substitutions to bring us back into the game and it just wasn’t to be.

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