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ISL 2023-24: Vergetis lauds 'unstoppable' Punjab FC after ending East Bengal FC's playoffs dream (WATCH)

Punjab FC defeated East Bengal FC by 4-1 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday to knock out the Red & Gold Brigade from the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 race.

football ISL 2023-24: Vergetis lauds 'unstoppable' Punjab FC after ending East Bengal FC's playoffs dream (WATCH) snt
First Published Apr 11, 2024, 12:31 PM IST

Staikos Vergetis, the head coach of Punjab FC, expressed immense satisfaction with his team's performance in their final match of the inaugural season of the Indian Super League (ISL), clinching a resounding 4-1 victory over East Bengal FC at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Wednesday.

Punjab FC commenced the game with vigor, securing an early lead in the 19th minute through Wilmar Jordan. Despite a swift response from the Red and Gold Brigade, who equalized just six minutes later courtesy of Sayan Banerjee, Punjab FC entered halftime with a lead after Madih Talal's sixth goal of the season.

In the second half, Jordan completed his brace in the 62nd minute, extending Punjab FC's lead. Luka Majcen sealed the deal for Punjab FC, finding the net in the 70th minute, ultimately securing a convincing 4-1 triumph over East Bengal FC.

Vergetis acknowledged that his team made a few errors in the first half but lauded their unstoppable performance in the second half.

“Regarding the game, I think that the team worked the plan that we had put in a very good way, and to a very high level in all the phases of the game. We had a little problem in the first half with the transitions, but we fixed that during one internal change,” stated Vergetis after the game.

He added, “But in the second half, we were unstoppable, and we scored, and we could have scored more goals. The team showed that they have one dynamic.”

Throughout the ISL 2023-24 season, Punjab FC exhibited their attacking prowess by netting 28 goals, showcasing their strength upfront. However, their defensive performance saw them concede 35 goals, second only to Hyderabad FC, who conceded 40 goals.

One recurring pattern for Vergetis' team was the tendency to have their lead quickly equalized by opponents, a trend evident once again in their match against East Bengal FC.

Addressing this problem, the Greek tactician shared, “This is true, that we conceded goals from one region, a very, very small region. One second, one loss of concentration (and we conceded). And we paid for this throughout the league. This happened today. But the good thing that we had is that when we received a goal, we didn't give up and we tried much more.”

Manglenthang Kipgen made an impactful debut on Wednesday, earning his first start of the season. The young player showcased his brilliance by creating four goal-scoring opportunities, which included an assist. Additionally, he contributed defensively with two successful tackles, two clearances, and three interceptions, further highlighting his versatility and talent on the field.

Vergetis is full of praise for the 18-year-old and opined, “He's one very good player who is coming. It’s the second season that he trained with professional football players, and I think that the future belongs to him. He has a very good quality and very excellent skills in his final passes to control the game. And I'm sure that he will occupy the Indian football scenario in the future for a lot.”


The 47-year-old concluded by reflecting on their inaugural campaign in the ISL, expressing satisfaction with ending the season on a positive note with a convincing victory.

“I am happy with the score, but in the last few games, in some details, we missed the chance to go to the sixth position. And this gives us a sense of sadness,” he signed off. 

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