Ashley Westwood: Mohun Bagan match wasn't fair

Asked what led to the loss against Mohun Bagan, BFC coach Ashely Westwood replied, "The officials, simple. It was not a fair game."

Bengaluru FC Coach Ashley Westwood speaking to the media after a 2-0 loss against Mohun Bagan   -  Sreenivasa Murthy

Bengaluru FC (BFC) coach Ashley Westwood pulled no punches after a 2-0 loss to Mohun Bagan here on Saturday, alleging that I-League referees have conspired against his side this season. Westwood also lashed out at Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen, claiming that “he has no history as a good coach”.

Asked what led to the loss, the Englishman replied, “The officials, simple. It was not a fair game. The sending off (BFC player Lalchuanmawia) was not a sending off, it was just a little coming together. The referee couldn't wait to send him off. I'm not sure who the referee (Ajitkumar Meitei Lairenlakpam) is, but is he experienced enough to officiate this game? I'm not sure.”

Westwood added that BFC has received unfavourable decisions on many occasions this season. “We have not gotten a penalty for 27 matches. We don't get anything (in our favour). We have to question why,” he said.

Before Westwood's rant, Sen had stated that the BFC players were “maybe too excited and aggressive”, which contributed to the defeat. Asked to respond to Sen's comment, Westwood was ungracious in his view. “I'm not concerned, because I don't value his opinion. He has no history as a good coach, so why should I listen to what Sanjoy Sen says?”

Sen and Bagan emerged the I-League champion last season, edging out Westwood's BFC in an exciting title-race, but this didn’t convince Westwood from cutting short his words.

“Jeje Lalpekhlua, Pronay Halder and Prabir Das should not have played for Bagan in this fixture. They got called up for the SAG Games (probables) camp, but Bagan did not send them. I also spoke to (India coach at SAG Games) Lee Johnson, who confirmed that he did call for these three footballers. I'm certain that there is an I-League rule which says that a club must release a player for India duty. We did it, and it killed us because we missed Udanta Singh today. BFC releases players, but no one else does. It's not fair,” Westwood said.

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