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ISL 2023-24: Coach Kratky delighted with Mumbai City FC's show in win against Odisha FC; WATCH highlights

Mumbai City FC sent Odisha FC and FC Goa out of the race of becoming the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 League Winners by defeating the Juggernauts by 2-1 at the Mumbai Football Arena (MFA) on Monday.

football ISL 2023-24: Coach Kratky delighted with Mumbai City FC's show in win against Odisha FC; WATCH highlights snt
First Published Apr 9, 2024, 10:47 AM IST

Mumbai City FC's head coach, Petr Kratky, expressed his contentment following a pivotal 2-1 triumph over Odisha FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) clash at the Mumbai Football Arena on Monday.

The match saw Jorge Pereyra Diaz break the deadlock in the 22nd minute, unleashing a powerful strike from inside the box courtesy of Lallianzuala Chhangte's precise cutback. However, Mumbai City FC's joy was short-lived as Diego Mauricio swiftly equalized just three minutes later, seizing upon a defensive error by Mumbai's goalkeeper, Phurba Lachenpa.

Entering the second half with renewed vigor, the hosts relentlessly pressed forward, mounting numerous attacks against Odisha FC's defense. Their persistence bore fruit in the 61st minute when Chhangte cleverly maneuvered inside the box to net the decisive goal, capitalizing on a deflected pass from Diaz.

Reflecting on the match, Kratky disclosed the team's halftime response to conceding the goal due to a costly error, emphasizing their determination to rectify their mistakes.

"We talked a little bit about the goal at halftime, and basically, we gifted them (Odisha FC) the goal. If Odisha FC were good, they would've scored a good goal. Then we really have to fix something in our defence, but we gave them the goal,” Kratky said in the post-match press conference.

“I always tell my boys to keep going. At half-time, it was 1-1, so we needed to fix a few things, keep believing in our process, and work it out. Because this group stayed together, worked hard, and got rewarded," he added.

During the season, Mumbai City FC's forwards have showcased exceptional cohesion, contributing significantly to Petr Kratky's team's accumulation of crucial points. The Czech-Australian head coach lavished praise on his attacking players and expressed optimism about extending their impressive nine-match unbeaten run.

"They are all fantastic players. We are happy with Diaz’s comeback in the starting 11. He is a very good player. He worked very hard for the team; he scored a goal, which is the most important thing for a striker,” he opined.

“With Chhangte, we just need to keep him positive. He has the quality to win 1v1 duels and get into the box; he provided a fantastic assist. Also, Vikram Partap and Bipin are doing well. So, sometimes it becomes very difficult for me to pick (the players). They are all quality players, and we are now in good momentum,” he continued.

The atmosphere in Mumbai was palpably tense as both teams engaged in an intense, back-and-forth battle during the nerve-wracking moments. The Kalinga Warriors demonstrated their determination to mount a comeback against the reigning ISL League Shield champions. Despite Sergio Lobera's side creating opportunities, notably through Mourtada Fall and Puitea, Mumbai City FC's goalkeeper, Lachenpa, remained resolute, thwarting their efforts.

With their triumph over Odisha FC on home turf, the Islanders now edge closer to successfully defending the ISL League Shield for the first time in the league's history. Post-match, Kratky's jubilant and emotive reaction underscored the significance of securing the much-needed victory.

While quizzed about this in the post-match press conference, Kratly acknowledged, “I always try to find out why I’m emotional. So, I have only questions over there. And if I don't get an answer, I keep asking.”

Sharing his affection and responsibility with the team, the head coach shared, “But again, I'm with the team; I'm an emotional person, and I'm showing my emotions, and if it's bad, like, this is just me.”

“I'm part of the team, and I try to help them, and I want them to be successful. I want them to win. I just wanted them to do well, you know because they deserve it. That's what I feel,” he signed off.

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