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ISL: Referee denied us a penalty, asserts NorthEast coach Herbert

New Delhi: NorthEast United FC coach Ricki Herbert Wednesday said his team were denied a certain penalty during the goalless match, a decision that could have been decisive and tilted the balance in their favour in a closely contested game.

Ricki Herbert
Ricki Herbert 

NorthEast United and Delhi Dynamos played out a goalless draw at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here in an Indian Super League (ISL) match.

"I have seen the footage of the incident. It was a clear penalty. In a tight game like this, a decision such as this could have made a huge difference," Herbert said in the post-match press conference here.

Winger Robin Gurung's dangerous run inside the box was stopped by defender Wim Raymaekers in the 65th minute and provoked a strong shout from the NorthEast camp for a penalty but referee Pratap Singh, who was close by place of the incident, swiftly shot down the strong appeal.

Herbert, however, didn't criticise the referee and chose to take the decision on their stride but praised Gurung for his impressive performance.

"These things happen in football. In another day ewe could have got the penalty decision in our favour. Sometime you get them, sometimes you don't. We have to move on. I am happy with Gurung's effort. He has been superb in all of our matches," he said.

With the 0-0 draw, NorthEast missed a chance to go second, overtaking Chennaiyin FC, and close the gap on leaders Atletico de Kolkata in the standings, settling for the third place with eight points from five matches while Delhi stayed at the fourth spot with six points from four matches.

Herbert, however, expressed his happiness over his team's performance.

"I am pleased with the performance of my team. We have continued to progress. We missed certain key players but did everything well tonight. We attacked well, kept a clean sheet. I am encouraging my young team and it is satisfying that they are performing on the field," the New Zealander said, who had a special word of appreciation for the NorthEast fans who thronged the ground in large numbers and were more vocal than the home fans.

Delhi Dynamos coach voiced his disappointment at dropping points at home. It was their third draw in four matches and they were plagued by lack of sharpness from their strikers.

"In the first 10 minutes, we had problems, our strikers were too high. After that we had a few opportunities. We had more shots, created chances but overall we lacked balance in the match failing to use our wingers," he said.

He spoke of his concern about his team's inability to score but chose to count on the positives.

"Positive that we didn't lose but we have now dropped four points at home and we need to pick up points in our next three away matches. But our team is growing and learning. We had chances but couldn't score. But I am hopeful. We have a long way to go," he concluded.

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