After having a firm grasp over Saturday’s game against Haryana Steelers in the first half, Gujarat Fortunegiants slipped up in the second half and lost 36-42. Haryana Steelers found their feet in the second half thanks to some brilliant raiding by Prashanth Kumar Rai and Wazir Singh. Gujarat coach Manpreet Singh, however, believes it was the defensive performance by the Steelers that won them the game. “In the first half our defenders were playing at half strength and our raiders were performing at 101 percent but in the second half our defence lost control completely and the Haryana defence started to gain momentum which is why we lost,” he said at the post-match press conference.

Manpreet was not too critical of his team’s corners though as he felt all players have good and bad days in the game of kabaddi. “This is what happens in kabaddi,” he said when enquired about their poor defensive display, “They have performed well for us in the previous matches but couldn’t perform today. If the team would have continued how they were playing in the first half then we could have won the match with a good lead.”

He also felt that the team failed to balance patience and aggression which ultimately led to their downfall. “Kabaddi is a sport which cannot be played without aggression. Every team plays with aggression but it is also important to play patiently. My team wasn’t patient which is why we lost today,” he said.

Mohit Chhillar from the Steelers, meanwhile, shed some light on their change in fortunes in the second half. “In the first half our combination wasn’t set because our cover was a bit unsure which caused some confusion in the team. Our coach motivated us during half time which boosted our confidence and in the last minutes of the match the entire team performed well,” he said.

Haryana coach Rambir Singh Khokhar also revealed how important this win was for the morale of their side. “In the last match against U Mumba we lost after the comeback which was a lesson for us and we had two draws as well. So if we had lost this match then the team would have been under pressure. In the last moments both departments performed well and they told me that we will win this game and they won it,” he concluded happily.