Cheerful Karim Bencherifa happy with the point

Pune FC had to toil to take a point off ten Mumbai FC and it took them 76 minutes to break a resolute Mumbai FC side down. The draw meant Pune FC failed to close the gap over the teams above and now sit third on the I-League charts.

But coach Karim Bencherifa was not too miffed with a point and believed the hosts dis really well to stop his side. “I think you have to give credit to Mumbai FC for the way they defended and worked so hard to stop us. We too worked our socks off and gave everything. So I am happy with the draw”.

The Moroccan believed his side left no stone unturned to get a second goal but with key players missing it became difficult. “We tried everything.We tried to pass our way to goal, we sent crosses in and tried to get men in the box, but it was difficult as we did not have proper strikers. I felt Darko’s injury was crucial and with Haokip missing I had to deploy the likes of Ganesh up front in the last few minutes to get the physicality. But it’s ok. I am not the one who will cry over missing players”.

Karim Bencherifa was highly appreciative of Mumbai FC’s opener from Taisuke and felt it was a wonderful goal to which his side went behind. “It was a very good goal from Taisuke. It was good on two levels, firstly the presence of mind and secondly the skill to put the ball from so far out in the net. It is not easy to do that”.

Pune now trail Mohun Bagan by two points having played game more but Bencherifa would have liked to slightly further in the table at this juncture. “I would have liked to be further ahead. There were a lot of games where we could have got more points, especially today. But still there is a long way to go and Mohun Bagan have played more games at home”.

The thing that pleased Karim Bencherifa the most was his side’s bench strength which was put to test against Mumbai. “I think my players did really well. Apart from two or three shots on goal, it was all Pune FC and it shows that we can get results despite missing several key players which just shows our squad strength. Everyone in our squad is ready and we proved that today”.

Karim Bencherifa now takes his Pune side far east to Shilong to face Royal Wahingdoh before a local derby against Bharat FC at the Balewadi stadium.

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