A thrilling battle that saw U Mumba dominate the first half and Bengaluru Bulls retaliate bravely in the second ended with the home side scoring a narrow win at the Dome@NSCI SVP Stadium. In the post-match press conference, U Mumba coach Gholamreza Mahmoud Mazandarani, captain Fazel Atrachali and raider Darshan Kadian took questions for their side whereas Bengaluru Bulls were represented by coach Randhir Singh and captain Rohit Kumar.
Q. Great comeback, you almost managed to win it at the end. Thoughts on the performance?
Randhir Singh: Our offence and defence both did not kickstart in the first half. But we managed to rally late into the game and, had they not managed to get hold of Pawan Kumar Sehrawat towards the end, I believe we would have won.
Q. Did you think Fazel Atrachali was their key?
Rohit Kumar: Atrachali has been playing really well. He is the backbone of their side. We weren’t intimidated by him. In fact, we tried a few false kicks to induce an ill-timed tackle from him and I felt I did manage to make him attempt one. But I couldn’t get a touch on him. As far as the defence goes, I believe we could have done better in that department.
Q. Did they surprise you with the raiding duo they lined up today?
Randhir Singh: We did suspect that they might not play Siddharth Desai, but to be honest, their strength is in their defence. Today, they lined up five defenders. We had prepared for every raider in their side, but I felt it was their defence, who managed to stop our in-form raiding trio, that won them the game.
Q. You started with just two raiders. Was that a tactic?
Gholamreza Mahmoud Mazandarani: Playing five defenders was part of our plan. The opposition has two very good right raiders and therefore we strengthened our right side with an extra defender. But we also needed Abhishek Singh on the bench because it is important to have excellent options on the bench.
Q. Darshan, was there any pressure on you to deliver in the absence of two big raiders?
Darshan Kadian: I don’t think there was any pressure on me. The coach backed me to do well and I wanted to give my 100% to the team.
Q. Bengaluru Bulls rallied well late in the game. Were you under pressure in that moment?
Fazel Atrachali: That is the beauty of kabaddi. The game is always in the balance till the last minute. It is normal in kabaddi.