U Mumba defeated Puneri Paltan for the first time this season with the scoreline reading 31-22 on Saturday. Representing U Mumba at the post-match press conference were captain Fazel Atrachali, coach Gholamreza Mahmoud Mazandarani and local hero Abhishek Singh. Taking questions for Puneri Paltan were captain Girish Maruti Ernak and coach Ashan Kumar.

U Mumba

Q: How do you view the win today?

Fazel Atrachali: I am proud of the team. We put in a complete performance despite missing two of our first-choice raiders, Siddharth Desai and Rohit Baliyan. We showed that we are a team. I have always been saying this that if we play as a team, we can win, no matter who the opposition is. That’s what we did today.

Q: How do you rate today’s win despite missing your lead raider, Siddharth Desai?

Gholamreza Mahmoud Mazandarani: Siddharth Desai is a very good player but as a team we are one. We have to play as one unit and that’s what we did today. Today was a good chance for us to test our bench strength since we were missing our top two raiders. The backups have been excellent and showed what they can do yet again. This was a very important victory for us and now we will carry this momentum ahead.

Q: How did you feel playing on your home turf?

Abhishek Singh: To see the crowd supporting you is always a big positive. Being from here, I feel connected to the crowd, and that spurred me on to put in my best today. I would like to thank my coach and teammates for showing faith in me and supporting me. Without Siddharth, I had to play the role of the lead raider today and my captain gave me the confidence that enabled me to put in a good performance.

Q: What are your plans for the home leg?

Gholamreza Mahmoud Mazandarani: I am using this time to try out different players before our home leg since we want the strongest combination to play at home. All matches are different and require different strategies. We will try our best to win outright at home and make our home stadium a fortress.

Puneri Paltan

Q: Where do you think you lost the game today?

Ashan Kumar: I expect a lot from my defence and, even though we got five Super Tackles today, we gave away unnecessary points, especially since U Mumba didn’t have their lead raider. There should have been no pressure from U Mumba’s raiders but we gave away easy points.

Q: Do you think Siddharth Desai not playing levelled the playing field with Nitin Tomar also not playing?

Ashan Kumar: When your main player doesn’t play, it lowers your team’s morale. It happened to both the teams as two of the main players weren’t playing. But it affected us more as Nitin Tomar has taken a lot of points for us whereas U Mumba have had others contributing as well.

Q: What are your thoughts on the game?

Girish Maruti Ernak: Our raiders kept on getting points in the first half but we could never push on and didn’t get the momentum we needed. The second half was all about defence for both teams so there was no question of getting easy raid points. We conceded unnecessary points and didn’t capitalise on their mistakes. That is where we lost the game.