Puneri Paltan survived a tough fight from U Mumba in their opening game to salvage a 32-32 tie. Captain Girish Maruti Ernak and coach Ashan Kumar attended the post-match press conference to answer questions on behalf of Pune while U Mumba were represented by skipper Fazel Atrachali, coach Gholamreza Mahmoud Mazandarani and raider Siddharth Desai. Excerpts are below.
Q. How do you assess your opening match?
Fazel Atrachali: It was a really close match. We were in front for 39 minutes and but things turned around in the final minute. But it was our first match and our rookie raiders did an excellent job. It was a great experience for them. I feel once they play more, we should be able to close out games like these.
Q. What do you have to say about Siddharth Desai?
Gholamreza Mahmoud Mazandarani: Siddharth is a new comer, and hopefully he will be able to finish the game in the future.
Q. How big of a risk was it to go for the last raid?
Gholamreza Mahmoud Mazandarani:It wasn’t a risk at all. We could have increased the margin of victory. This is a game and these things happen.
Q. Mumbai were favorites towards the end to win the game but it ended in a tie. What do you have to say about that?
Girish Maruti Ernak: It was our first game and we were happy to take it to a tie from a difficult position. Our defence took a little time initially but we came back well. We will try to do better in the next match.
Q. Siddharth Desai came in as an unknown quantity and performed really well. Any comments?
Ashan Kumar: For a youngster, he did really well. He attacked our defence and took points off us. Next time we will contain him. We will look to improve our defence tomorrow.
Q. Nitin Tomar got you 15 points today. What do you have to say about him as a player?
Ashan Kumar: Nitin Tomar is a very good player. As long as he is with us, we can feel confident and hope for good performances from him.
Q. Do you think the result would have been different if you approached their defence differently?
Ashan Kumar: The last point we won was through our defence and the point before that we caught them off-guard through our offence. When we took a Time Out we decided that we wanted to get one Bonus and one touch point, but since we didn’t get the Bonus we didn’t have a choice and had to go for the point through our defence. That risk had to be taken.