Mohun Bagan Super Giant head coach Antonio Lopez Habas was disheartened after they went down to Mumbai City FC with a 1-3 scoreline in the final of the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday. 

Mumbai City FC dominated the match throughout the 90 minutes attempting a total of 15 shots compared to Mohun Bagan SG’s eight. But against the tide of play, it was Mohun Bagan SG who found the opener just before half-time with Jason Cummings capitalising on Phurba Lachenpa’s mistake and scoring his 12th goal of the season.

As the Mariners stepped into the second half with a goal’s lead, the visitors took the pitch with a rejuvenated mindset, desperate to turn the tie around.  

53 minutes into the match, Jorge Diaz levelled the scores converting an exceptional long ball from Alberto Noguera, bringing the Islanders back in the game.  Substitute Bipin Singh gave Mumbai City FC their deserved lead in the 81st minute, after a chaotic moment in the Mohun Bagan SG penalty box. 

As the match went into injury time, the Mariners became more and more desperate to bag their equaliser, and in the process, left their defence unguarded. Jakub Vojtus, who came into the field replacing an injured Diaz in the later stages of the match, exploited this lack of organisation in the Mohun Bagan SG backline and scored his first ISL goal in the dying seconds of the grand finale.

Habas agreed that the goal they scored came against the tide of the play and congratulated the Islanders for their second ISL Cup success.

We were winning the match, but we were not superior to the opponent. Because I think that Mumbai City FC were better than us in the first 45 minutes and we took the lead, 1-0, but it was not the correct score. Congratulations to Mumbai City FC,” stated Habas in the post-match press conference.

He added, “I think that Mumbai City FC deserved the score and we have to continue working and take good decisions (regarding the strategies and performance of the players).”

There were 62,007 people in the stadium for the final between Mohun Bagan SG and Mumbai City FC, with most of them being the home team’s supporters.  The Spaniard is disappointed to have not been able to wish them goodbye for the season with a win. 

He said, “I am disappointed because we wanted to say goodbye to the supporters today with a victory. But we couldn’t. In football, it's impossible that you can choose when you can win or you can lose.”

Explaining his team’s poor performance, he opined, “Today, my players kept fighting, fighting, fighting until the final whistle. But I think that psychologically, two must-win matches (final league game against Mumbai City FC and semi-final second leg against Odisha FC), transcendental matches in the last month is maybe, and today is tiring mentally.”

Habas missed Armando Sadiku in the final owing to his suspension and believes his presence could have produced a different result as the Albanian has been an instrumental figure in the Mariner’s frontline having found the net on eight occasions this season.

“Sadiku is a player who is more aggressive with more possibility to press. And today we don't have this player,” he shared. 

He continued, “Because, Armando is more aggressive than Jason (Cummings) or Dimi (Petratos).”

The 66-year-old wishes to continue with the Kolkata side for another season and is in negotiations with the club. 

He said, “I am talking with the club to continue in the next season.”

“I want to retire like in India. And I don’t want to go immediately out of India. And now we had negotiation with the club, the possibility to sign one season more,” shared Habas.