Pune FC were handed their first defeat in the AFC Cup as they succumbed to a 3-1 loss to Singapore’s Tampines Rovers at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Wednesday evening in a group H clash.
Mustapha Riga put the Red Lizards ahead in the 15th minute from the spot but goals from Miljan Mrdakovic (28th and 69th minute) and Luis Closa (62nd minute) were enough to win full points for The Stags.
Mike Snoei had mentioned of the importance of the game by stating that his side had to go for full points if they harbor hopes of making it into the knockout stages.
On being asked to share his thoughts on the defeat, Snoei said, “First, disappointment. We started well. We scored the first goal from a penalty. Then the other team made it difficult for us. They played more forward because it was 1-0 for us, and we came into trouble. You can say it was individual mistakes and I can see that. When you play back to your goalkeeper (Amrinder Singh), this rule already exists for many years, you cannot pick it up. And we were already one time lucky that the referee didn’t whistle, so the second time he whistled and they scored from that situation.
“The third goal was the same. We gave it away too easy, my right central defender (Anas Edathodika). But I think after the first half hour it was a well deserved win for the opponent. Because they played well, they were patient. You can also see that they really adapt well to the artificial grass. You can see a lot of players slip.
“We trained on the pitch, then you think you can do well on the surface, but for a few players it was difficult to reach the normal level. But it’s not because of the pitch that we lost, but because also the opponents did very well.”
Pune FC lie at the bottom of the group with two points from their three matches. Snoei admitted that it will be difficult for his side to qualify but all was not lost yet.
“It will be difficult. You never know in football, but the other teams must drop some points somewhere else. And you never know. In football everything is possible. Only when you need four points in the last game then it will be difficult. You can say it’s impossible now, but that’s not my character. We will do our best and we will see how things work. We didn’t really reach our level like the Kitchee away game, and that was disappointing for me.”
The former Panathinakos assistant coach pointed that Hong Kong’s Kitchee were the strongest team in the group consisting of Singapore’s Tampines Rovers and Myanmar’s Nay Pyi Taw besides Pune FC.
“Kitchee is a little bit better than the other three teams, and then the three teams are very close to each other. Kitchee is the best team and the other three, in my calculation, must fight for the second position. Then we draw 2-2 (against Kitchee), we played a fantastic second half in Hong Kong. But then we have a result like this, so that is disappointing because you also know that they won here 5-0. So you get some expectations to everybody, that’s normal in football. But the opponent did very well.”
- Thursday, 20 March 2014
- Last Updated on Thursday, 20 March 2014
- Published Date
- Written by Agencies