The Blues tasted their first defeat of the ISL 2021-22 season.

Bengaluru FC suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Odisha FC on Wednesday. A brace from Javi Hernandez and a late solo goal by Aridai Cabrera was all it took for the Juggernauts to claim their victory. Hernandez opened the goalscoring for Kiko Ramirez and his men but Alan Costa equalized for Marco Pezzaiuoli and the boys later on — in the 21st minute.

This was followed by two more goals for Odisha FC in the second half; one again by Hernandez in the form of a spectacular free-kick and another by Aridai Cabrera in stoppage time. In the 62nd minute, however, the Blues’ equalizer by Cleiton Silva off Sunil Chhetri’s penalty rebound was denied — thanks to Kamaljit Singh’s save and a controversial refereeing decision thereafter. Nonetheless, Bengaluru FC pushed towards an equalizer further. But in the end, Aridai Cabrera’s goal in the 95th minute meant a win for the home side. Following the game, BFC head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli spoke at the post-match press conference.

Factors for defensive lapses

First up, the 53-year-old spoke about the reasons for defensive lapses this season — both for Bengaluru FC as well as the league in general. In other words, he addressed some of the factors that he thought were responsible for such a high number of goals; 22 in six games.

He began, “I think it’s not my thing (duty) to talk about other teams. Usually, I can talk about us. As you can see, we made a mistake in the first five minutes in the defense, In the second goal, the free-kick for the opponent was the mistake of Udanta — he lost the ball, played it to the opponent and then they get the free-kick. Also, the position of Gurpreet (Singh Sandhu) in the situation was not good.

“(But), I don’t see the bad things, I see the good ones because we are also scoring goals usually. We also had a chance to score a second and third as well. I think we dominated the game 80%. It’s easy to play more defence. For example, in the beginning, Odisha played very defensively and after they scored the goal, the game got very difficult. But you see how much we spirit we have, we came back, score one against one and we wanted to win the game. You saw that in all the 90 minutes I think. When you make mistakes, you need to be better than the opponent to score more goals,” Marco Pezzaiuoli added.

Thoughts on the refeering decision

As mentioned, after Sunil Chhetri’s missed penalty, Cleiton Silva’s rebound goal was denied. Thereby, leading to a controversial refereeing moment. When asked about the same, Pezzaiuoli stated, “It was about two players going inside the box. I think 99% in the world they give the penalty again. Only in India, not (they don’t), I’m not sure why. You need to ask the referee. It’s not good for us because this has happened everywhere in the world; (that too) many times. Sunil (Chhetri) is normally a top (great) scorer in free kicks (penalties) and sometimes he misses too. But the referee cannot decide the game in this way;” expressing disappointment about the decision.

On Naorem Roshan Singh’s selection

22-year-old wingback Naorem Roshan Singh was handed a place in the starting XI today. On this, the gaffer was asked about the reason for his selection. That is, if it was due to his set-piece abilities.

To this, he responded, “No. he’s training well and he had a good pre-season and I think he deserved to play. As a young player, he’s the future for BFC and he needs to get this kind of experience. We talked about this in the beginning of the season. It’s a step to get more and more young players and this is what we want.”

Reason for not starting Cleiton Silva

Lastly, Marco Pezzaiuoli was asked if there was a lack of creativity in the team without Brazilian striker Cleiton Silva and the reasons behind not starting him in today’s game.

Answering this, he stated, “I think creativity (wise), Cleiton is a very good striker. He played a good game in the last one (against NorthEast United). Ibara (Prince Ibara) also played a good game. Sometimes, you’ve to decide on one striker. You have 20 games in the season and you play every three days. You also need to have enough energy. Also, our playing style — we’re pressing high, not in the defence and we try to attack which means fresh player for 60 minutes and (then) get Cleiton inside. I think Cleiton did very well in the second half but it’s not only about creativity.”

“I think there was no big space in the first half because we first made a mistake. This is not about any creativity because Jayesh is a creative player. Danish (Farooq) came inside — who is also a creative player and Bruno (Ramires) is a creative player too. Usually, the number six is a quarterback and a creative player,” he concluded; thereby elaborating on the reason behind certain rotations.

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