U Mumba secured a 33-23 win over Puneri Paltan in the Maharashtra Derby played at the Dome@NSCI SVP Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday. It was U Mumba’s second win of the season. Captain Fazel ‘Sultan’ Atrachali and coach Sanjeev Kumar spoke to reporters at the post-match press conference, while Puneri Paltan coach Anup Kumar attended from the opposition camp.
Q. Coach, your thoughts on today’s game?
Sanjeev Kumar: Very good, everything went as expected. Our plan at the start was not to go too deep (while raiding) and we controlled our game as per that plan.
Q. Your raiders didn’t attack much, any reason behind that?
Sanjeev Kumar: We were conservative at the start and raided with caution. That was the plan. We didn’t attack aggressively like we did in the last match and stuck to our plans.
Q. Was the team under pressure after the loss in the last game?
Sanjeev Kumar: Last game, we were under pressure and played aggressively, which led to mistakes. However, we learnt from our mistakes and stuck to the plan that we devised for this game.
Q. Fazel, how important was it to win after losing the last game?
Fazel Atrachali: Last match, we lost. We needed to win this match because we couldn’t afford to lose two in a row. So, the win was very important for us and our fans.
Q. What was the turning point in the match?
Sanjeev Kumar: There were no turning points in the match. We just followed the game-plan throughout and there was no particular raid that was the turning point. It took us about 20 minutes or so to gain an advantage.
Q. Fazel, were you worried about any particular Puneri Paltan players going into the match?
Fazel Atrachali: We were just focused on ourselves and being in control. I wasn’t concerned about the other team because our performance in the defence was good.
Q. Thoughts on Abhishek Singh’s performance?
Sanjeev Kumar: He has performed well in all three matches and today, too, he was exceptional. He also contributed with some crucial Do-or-Die raids which were extremely important to us. So far, he has exceeded expectations this season.
Q. Thoughts on Sushant Sail’s performance?
Anup Kumar: He was a substitute today, but he took points in raids. He performed well today and he’s a good raider. The more he plays, the better he will get. If he keeps performing well, he will get more chances.
Q. What are your thoughts on your raiders?
Anup Kumar: It was very difficult to judge how our raiders performed today. I felt like getting on the mat and raiding myself at times, to be honest, because if we don’t raid well, it puts pressure on the defence.