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ISL 2020-21: “A top league like ISL needs top officials”: Owen Coyle

ISL 2020-21: “A top league like ISL needs top officials”: Owen Coyle

Sayan Chatterjee

Published: 24 Dec 2020 6:35 AM GMT

Jamshedpur FC head coach Owen Coyle has become the latest in a long line of Indian Super League (ISL) coaches who have made their views clear about the poor standard of officiating in the tournament. His side were the victims of an extremely poor decision last night in their match against FC Goa when a genuine goal was not given by the on-field referee and his assistants after the ball had gone in off the horizontal bar, only to bounce out thereafter.

“It’s disheartening because we’ve been robbed in the game. It was a perfectly good goal at one each when the ball came off the underside of the bar. It was clearly over the line and at this level it’s embarrassing when things like that happen,” he replied when asked to present his views on the incident in the post-match interview.

This isn’t the first time that this has happened this season. A number of dicey refereeing decisions have teams like SC East Bengal and FC Goa previously. The Kolkata giants have already submitted a written complaint to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) while FC Goa head coach Juan Ferrando has previously termed the refereeing in the ISL this season as ‘a joke’. Coyle hit the nail on its head as he said, “The ISL has some fantastic teams and terrific coaches but we are being let down every week by poor officiating.”

Given the fact that his team would have taken a 2-1 lead with just about a quarter of an hour to go makes this incident even harder to accept for the Scotsman. “Some of the stuff that has happened to Jamshedpur this season is beyond a joke. It was such a clear goal that would have given us a lead. It’s hard to take given what the players put into the game,” he said ruefully.

It was billed as the battle between the two leading goalscorers in the ISL, Igor Angulo and Nerijus Valskis. The Spaniard stole a march on the Lithuanian with yet another brace and now has eight goals compared to Valskis’ six. However, Coyle isn’t too worried about Valskis not finding the net in their last two games. “He is an outstanding player. You could see that tonight when he had his freekick hit the bar and a great shot saved at the near post. All we have to do is when we’re getting weighed down, get him better service and he’ll score for fun,” he elaborated.

Probed further about his talisman’s qualities, the former Bolton Wanderers manager only had good things to say. “He wins his headers, he brings you up the park. He doesn’t always need to score goals to contribute. He’s great in the air, he has got great movement and he can score goals from anywhere. It’s great to have him here at Jamshedpur,” said an optimistic Coyle as he tries to pick his team up after last night’s disappointment and prepare for the battles ahead.

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