ISL 2023-24: Juan Mera expresses emotional return to Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan stadium
Witness the emotional reunion as Juan Mera faces his former club, East Bengal FC, in a thrilling goalless draw against Punjab FC.
Juan Mera, expressing his sentiments after a goalless draw against Punjab FC on December 9, shared the emotional experience of playing against his former club, East Bengal FC, for the first time in the ISL. Despite Punjab FC's solid defense limiting East Bengal's attacking opportunities, Mera showcased his creative prowess, coming closest to scoring with a shot hitting the crossbar. The Spanish midfielder, reminiscing about his time with East Bengal FC, described the match as special and emphasized the challenges faced by Punjab FC in securing their first win of the league.
Luka Majcen, Punjab FC's Slovenian forward, praised his team's defensive performance, considering it their best in the ISL 2023–24 season. He acknowledged East Bengal's strong start but commended both teams, suggesting they deserved a point each. Meanwhile, East Bengal FC captain Cleiton Silva highlighted the significance of another clean sheet, expressing optimism about the team's overall performance. Silva acknowledged the difficulty of the game and pointed out the absence of clear goal-scoring opportunities, remaining positive about their recent results and anticipating a tough challenge against Mumbai City FC on December 16.
“It’s very special for me. East Bengal FC was my first team here in India, and I have many special memories with this team,” Mera told indiansuperleague.com while speaking about his experience of playing in front of numerous East Bengal FC supporters at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata.
“For me, it was a special day, a special match. We had challenges getting the first win of the league. But we are happy with our performance. We have to keep it going and try to win the next match,” he stated.
"They (East Bengal FC) started the game very strongly, but we came back strong. I think both teams deserve one point each," Majcen commented.
"Yes, (it was our best defensive performance so far this season). We did not concede a goal. This is a positive thing. We fought (till the end), we held good blocks as a team, and we ran from one end to another. We can be proud of our defensive function," he continued.
"It’s good to keep a clean sheet,” Silva stated.
“We played a good game; we fought a lot. These kinds of games are very difficult. The positive things are that we did not concede a goal, and we are in the first-six position. This is our target for the season. So, it was not a bad game, not a bad night," he shared.
"I think we did not create any real chance. We had some crossings and some dangerous play, but no real chance was there. Maybe there was one good chance with PV Vishnu; he did very well inside the box," he opined.
"Let's be positive. We got one point (against Punjab FC). We did not lose in the last three matches. We are in the top six of the table. Our next match will be very difficult against Mumbai City FC. Let's see," Silva signed off.