The Blues took the lead via Ashique, who then scored an own-goal much to the relief of the Yellow Army.

Bengaluru FC ended their third game of the 2021-22 ISL season with a draw against Kerala Blasters on Sunday. Despite multiple chances at both ends, goals finally flew in only after the 84th minute – with Ashique Kuruniyan scoring at both ends. Apart from the goals themselves, there were several points of discussion for the Blues – especially in terms of chances, creativity and overall style of play; particularly in attack.

After the game, Bengaluru FC head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli spoke about the same at the post-match press conference:

On Sunil Chhetri’s performance so far

First up, the tactician shared his thoughts on skipper Sunil Chhetri’s performance in the competition so far — who hasn’t been at his best and was also subbed off in the second half. “It was the third game for Sunil as well. We had three strikers on the bench.

“I want to bring some fresh minds inside and some new creativity. When you’re into the third game, it is important to bring fresh guys and we have a good squad as well,” he stated; referring to the reason for bringing him off.

Thoughts on overall performance

Next, the 53-year-old summarized the draw from his perspective. Considering the late equalizer and Kerala Blasters’ playing style, Marco Pezzaiuoli said, “We are disappointed, of course, because we scored in the 84th minute. We had a chance to score before as well — from Cleiton (Silva). We dominated the game. We didn’t create so many chances and I think that was a big issue.

“But, it’s always difficult to play against an opponent who play very deep. (For) creating chances, you need to be very patient and we were. In the end, (that’s how) we scored a goal. When you keep pressuring the opponent, in the end, they’ll make a mistake.”

Takeaways from attack

Further, he was questioned on his side’s attacking performance. To this, he replied, “We passed through the defensive line a lot, especially in the first half. We didn’t get the ball inside while the striker was waiting. We also took too long to make the last pass.

“I think the striker goes (gets into) good positions and we need to gift him the right passes in the end. We every time try to dribble again and cut backwards. Our strikers can score if we bring the ball inside the box between the posts. But, the ball must be there (first);” he stated highlighting both positives as well as aspects to be improved upon.

On Cleiton Silva’s importance

After this, the tactician was quizzed on Cleiton Silva’s importance to the side. For, the Brazilian has been their best player, both in terms of scoring as well as creating chances. He responded, “I think Cleiton makes (had) a not so good game as the first one. But, he’s important and that’s why I keep him. He’s also important for free-kicks and defensive work. (Basically), in set-pieces he’s important.

“I also think Prince (Ibara) came good inside (did well inside the box) and had some action in the defence line. Siva (Sivasakthi Narayanan) also made his debut in the league and we are proud to have a youngster who plays.”

Regarding Ashique Kuruniyan’s goals

Finally, Marco Pezzaiuoli spoke about Ashique Kuruniyan — who as mentioned scored at both ends of the pitch.

“I think Ashique did well; better than the first two games. It was a nice goal and it was good for him. Of course, the goalkeeper (Albino Gomes) helped a little bit. But still, he needs to improve his crosses. There needs to be earlier crosses in the box. But, I think it was his best game of these three games,” he opined, thereby concluding the press conference.

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