New Delhi, Jan 2 The Indian Arrows suffered a 0-2 defeat at the hands of East Bengal in their I-League fixture here today but head coach Luis Norton de Matos was happy with the performance of his players.
"I am very satisfied how we played against a big team like East Bengal. They have experience players. Not only East Bengal or Mohun Bagan, all these teams are dependent on foreign players whereas I am playing with Indian players only," de Matos said at the post-match press conference.
East Bengal pumped in two goals in the space of three minutes early into the match (13th and 16th minutes) and that double strike in quick time virtually decided the match.
"We let in two goals and after that they (East Bengal) controlled the result," the Portuguese tactician rued.
De Matos said he was disappointed with Abhishek Halder conceding a free-kick from which East Bengal's Mahmoud Al-Amna scored the first goal.
Asked about the performance of Prabhsukhan Singh Gill who manned the Arrows goal after number one goalie Dheeraj Singh left the team, de Matos said, "I think it is a new process for goalkeeper Gill who is 16 years old. He made a fantastic save in the second half. The team needs to protect the goalie.
"For me, I am much more disappointed with the U-19 defender (for conceding the free kick). The U-19 player (Halder) lost complete emotional control."
He said captain Amarjit Singh Kiyam will be available for the Arrows' match against I-League newbies Neroca FC in Imphal on January 5. Amarjit was red-carded for his second bookable offence in the match against Mohun Bagan.
The Indian Arrows held Mohun Bagan 1-1 in the match played on December 29 in Kolkata.
Asked which opponent between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal was more impressive, de Matos said, "Personally, I am more impressed with Mohun Bagan than East Bengal. Mohun Bagan pressed us more while East Bengal just controlled the result."
On Dheeraj leaving the team midway the season to have a trial stint in United Kingdom, he said, "Some players do not understand why he left. A team is like a family, you don't know why. But this gives a window of opportunity to Gill."
East Bengal coach Khalid Jamil said two goals were good enough for his side to beat the Arrows.
"Two goal is enough for us. There was nothing much to talk about this Indian Arrows team," he said.