Despite the victory, the home side’s backline allowed ATK a host of chances to score on the night.
Bengaluru FC ended the calendar year on a high with an important 1-0 victory over ATK at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Thursday. A first-half header from Erik Paartalu proved to be the difference between the two sides as the Blues extended their lead at the top of the table to six points. ATK, on the other hand, remain in the sixth position with 16 points.
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Watch: Bengaluru 1-0 ATK Highlights
At the post-match press conference, Bengaluru head coach Carles Cuadrat shared his thoughts on the match. The Spaniard began by showering praise on Erik Paartalu, who has firmly established himself as one of the league’s top midfielders this season. “I am very happy for Erik. He is doing a great job. It is nice when you have the drive to get into the box and score. It is his second goal in the league, so very happy with him,” he said.
Cuadrat also provided an injury update on Nishu Kumar and Rino Anto, who had to be taken off during the match. “It looks like Rino has a hamstring muscle problem. It normally takes one month to recover. So, he is going to be back in January. About Nishu, it is a knee problem. He has to go to the hospital to check exactly what happens,” he revealed.
Despite the victory, the Bengaluru backline allowed ATK a host of chances to score on the night. However, Cuadrat defended his team’s defensive players, saying, “We have been working all the season with four defenders. So, if we have to change two of them, the mechanics are going to change. You have to see that in every game there are a crazy number of offside decisions from the opposition. So, when you put two new players, there can be problems. They had chances and we had chances as well. I think it was a nice game for the supporters. I don’t have the feeling that they (the defenders) were putting us in a lot of trouble.”
From ATK’s end, head coach Steve Coppell was present to answer the questions put forth by the media. The Englishman seemed frustrated with his side’s inability to take their chances, especially in the second-half but stated that he was pleased with the overall performance. “I thought we were the better team. I thought we controlled the possession better. We had some great opportunities, particularly in the second-half. I thought we had three or four big chances,” he said.
“The defining moment was obviously when they got their noses in front. But overall, I couldn’t really ask more from my players in terms of performance against the best team in the league. For us, to create so many chances (was great) and it was what we were trying to do,” Coppell added.