New Delhi: Indian football coach Savio Medeira and his Maldives counterpart Istvan Urbanyi were involved in a war of attrition, with the latter terming the home side lucky to have come out 3-1 victorious in the semifinal of the SAFF Championships here on Friday.
Hungarian Urbanyi, who had said before the semifinals that Maldives have more quality players than any side in the tournament, continued his on-your-face attitude even after his side failed to make it to the final of the regional tournament.
"India were lucky to have won the match. The Indian coach said that the team which made less mistakes will win the tournament. But I said luck is very important. It was 1-1 deadlock and then India got the penalty and we had enough chances to restore parity again, but we could not. So it was bad luck for us," Urbanyi told reporters at the post-match press conference.
"I had said the team which has extra quality players will win the tournament and my side has more quality players. But bad luck for us," he added.
Medeira gave a diplomatic reply to his counterpart's comments, saying that "everybody saw who played better".
"It depends on the individual how he interprets it. Everybody saw how we played and who played better," Medeira said when told about the Maldives coach's comments.
Medeira praised his boys for regrouping after Maldives restored parity at the hour mark.
"Credit to the boys. They picked up after the equaliser. We made some mistakes and allowed Maldives to dominate for a while in the early part of the second half. We have to improve on this in the final match," he said.
Urbanyi attributed India's domination in the first half to the absence captain Ashfaq for 17 minutes due to "some problem".
"Ashfaq developed some problem early in the match and he had to leave for the dressing room after taking permission and had to be given medical attention. He was not in the field for 17 minutes. I had to wait for him to return," he said.
"When India scored Ashfaq was not there in the field and we were 10 men then. The first goal (by India) was a gift from us," he added.
Asked what he thought of the penalty awarded to India, which striker Sunil Chhetri converted to give the home side 2-1 lead, Urbanyi said, "I am not sure if it was a penalty or not as I could not see it properly. If it was a foul by my player (on Chhetri) it was an unnecessary one. But it seemed that the ball was going out and not in his (Chhetri's) control."
Medeira was, however, 100 per cent sure that it was a penalty, though he said he could not say whether the Maldives player who fouled on Chhetri should have been sent off as he was the last man save for the goalkeeper.
"I am 100 per cent sure it was a penalty. But it depends on the interpretation of the referee depending on the situation whether the Maldives player should have been sent off or not," said the India coach.