ISL: FC Goa coach Zico lambasts referee for denying penalty

Margao: Slamming referee Ravshan Iramatov for denying his side a penalty, baffled FC Goa coach Zico has questioned the wisdom of putting the controversial Uzbekistani at the helm of the crucial Indian Super League (ISL) second leg semi-final play-off match against Atletico de Kolkata.

FC Goa coach Zico
FC Goa coach Zico 

Zico said he failed to understand why the same person, who had given a controversial penalty against his team in the group stage against the same opponents, was asked to officiate the important match.

Goa lost the match 2-4 on penalties to bow out of the competition at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium Wednesday.

"We had many chances during the game, like the penalty that was not called by the referee. I didn't understand why this referee was called, since he was the referee who gave a penalty to Atletico against us in Kolkata," the Brazilian legend said Wednesday.

"Such mistakes cannot be made in games like these. In the last match, Bruno Pinheiro was given a red card and today we were not given a penalty."

Atletico defender Arnab Mondal brought down Goa's Brazilian recruit Andre Santos inside the penalty box in the 56th minute, evoking a strong shout from the Goa bench but it was swiftly turned down.

Iramatov was also criticised earlier for awarding Atletico a penalty in a group match between the two teams in Kolkata Dec 10 that helped the home team draw 1-1 and qualify for the play-off.

Zico also pointed out that Atletico won because of their superior marking skills which did not give the Goans much place to play open football.

"Atletico marked very well and they tried to neutralise us. We get very few chances, which we failed to capitalise," he said.

"The Kolkata team lost a lot of their power without their striker Fikru. So they changed their strategy and took the game to the penalty and won."

Zico said despite the disappointment, he has already spoken to the management and would return to coach Goa for the next two years.

"Of course, I want to come back and I have spoken to the team officials and management. They want me to coach the team for the next two years. But now I need some time to think about the past and the future. I have been away from my family for a long time and I need to take a break," the 61-year-old said.

"They want me to stay and even I want to come back to Goa. I would like to say that these four months have been amazing and I have spent some really good moments here. I received so much love from all the people in Goa and from India."

Zico though crestfallen at the defeat, lauded his team's spirit and the willingness to compete.

"It is always sad after we face a defeat, but we have to put on a strong face and keep our heads held high, because we have worked very hard," Zico said.

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