We were very near our first ISL victory: Punjab FC’s Staikos Vergetis
Punjab FC head coach Staikos Vergetis shared his views after his side were held to a 1-1 draw against Hyderabad FC.
Punjab FC head coach Staikos Vergetis commended his players' efforts despite their 1-1 draw in the Indian Super League (ISL) against Hyderabad FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Juan Mera claimed his first ISL goal with a precise left-footed finish, coming close to securing all three points for the hosts before substitute Jonathan Moya struck late in injury time. Hyderabad FC mounted a late comeback, denying Punjab FC their inaugural ISL victory by a narrow margin. Vergetis acknowledged his players' disappointment at narrowly missing their first ISL victory.
“Of course, the players are very sad because they were waiting for our first victory,” he said in the post-match press conference.
“We were very near to this (our first ISL victory). But as I told them (the players), if we do the maximum, if we put our maximum effort into every game as we do today, good results will come. For me, I am not so sad because I saw the team playing good football in some periods of the game and being very competitive, and I like this. I like that; as long as the games pass, the team starts to increase their performance,” he added.
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A late strike from @HydFCOfficial in the final stage of #PFCHFC denies @RGPunjabFC their first win in #ISL! 🤯#ISL10 #LetsFootball #ISLonJioCinema #ISLonSports18 #PunjabFC #HyderabadFC | @Sports18 pic.twitter.com/rQ3eWv2CbZ
After seven games, Punjab FC occupies the bottom position in the ISL standings, having achieved three draws and suffered four defeats. This marked the second consecutive game in which they dropped points after taking the lead, as they had done against Mumbai City FC, who made a comeback with two goals in the second half.
Vergetis defended the team's strategy of protecting their lead in the past two matches while calling for increased player focus. He explained, “It's the nature of the sport of football. The team that fights to survive and fights to draw when it's back in the score will press more. And automatically, sometimes the team that is in front of the score tries to defend and try to keep what result it has. And it happens automatically in the mentality of the players many times. It's not an issue that in the last minute the team loses concentration or all of this,” Vergetis opined.
“The opponent fights more, tries more, and okay, we could finish the game a little bit, playing badly in the last minutes, or delay all of the things. But we don't do this. It's not an issue for the last minutes. I think we must stay focused on our job, and everything will go better,” he added.
Vergetis urged all Punjab FC supporters to come out in large numbers to back their team and enjoy the games. He stated, "I would like to encourage people from Delhi or Punjab to come and watch because the games are very interesting. I enjoy football in India. It features a lot of transitions, fast-paced action, and maintains interest until the last minute, as we witnessed today. I believe that games like this draw people to the stadiums. I call on them to come, support our team, and enjoy the game."