For ATK head coach Teddy Sheringham, it was a frustrating day in office where they had to wait forever for the match to start due to “unavoidable” circumstances which forced FC Goa to reach the city less than two hours before the Indian Super League (ISL) match got underway.
In the aftermath of a MiG-29K aircraft catching fire after skidding off the runway at Goa’s Dabolim International Airport on Wednesday morning, FC Goa players were left stranded all day before a chartered flight from New Delhi flew them from their base to Kolkata.
After several delays, the match started at 10.45 p.m., a first in Indian football, with the Goa team touching down here at 8.59 p.m. and reaching the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan at 9.42 p.m.
The tie was orignially slated for a 8 pm start.
“It’s been a frustrating day and I think it showed. It was a hard day at the office. Overall, I am kind of pleased with a point. They (FC Goa) are a good footballing team and we matched up against them as much as we could. I thought either team could have won it,” Sheringham told reporters after the game ended 1-1.
Robbie Keane scored in the 4th minute only to see league’s top-scorer Ferran Corominas peg back in the 24th minute.
Sheringham said they wanted to make the most of Goa’s tired legs with the players spending the entire day at the airport and then travelling to Kolkata by a chartered plane.
“We thought we could capitalise on their tiredness. We tried to get the lead early. FC Goa have had a tough couple of days and it hasn’t been easy for us too. We’ve had a rough day too. It was a tiring day and was seen in the performances of both teams,” the 51-year old former Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur star said.
The former England striker also thanked the fans for staying up well past midnight for the match to finish.
“It is the first time I’ve finished a game a 1 am in the morning which is very unusual.
“We were expecting a big crowd here tonight. But we were delighted with the number of fans who stuck with us despite the kick-off being delayed by almost three hours. We are thankful to them.”
Quizzed about striker Robin Singh’s injury update, the coach said, “Robin Singh should be back very soon. He had a bad knee and then was tackled in the ankle in our game against Mumbai City. Anwar Ali felt his hamstring early in the game and we need to assess him before putting a timeframe on his return.”
Defending champions ATK, seventh in the points table, are on nine points from seven games.