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Popovic dissatisfied with result, Roca reveals unhappiness

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Both the hosts and the visitors failed to capitalize.

FC Pune City drew 0-0 against Bengaluru FC in the first leg of the first semi-final encounter of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18, played at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Wednesday. The Stallions had a few chances of their own, but will now have to get a positive result from their visit to Bengaluru in the second leg to reach the Final.

In the post-match press conference, Pune’s head coach Ranko Popovic addressed the media and began by appreciating both teams for a quality encounter which was albeit goalless. “Everyone knows how important the score in this game is for the next game,” he stated. “None of the teams wanted to make mistakes and to lose advantage. I think this was a very quality and competitive game from both teams. The most interesting thing is how a 0 – 0 draw can be interesting and this game was interesting.”

The 50-year-old further added, “I am satisfied with the performance, not with the result. The result is only the consequence of the work. Today we worked very hard and very well.”

Asked whether the result gave them any advantage going into the match at Bengaluru, the Serbian replied, “You only get an advantage if you finish the game in your favour, whether you play 90 minutes or 120 minutes. What we have to do is try and score the goal in Bengaluru. We are going there to score goals and win the game. I know it will not be easy, but we have to do well if we want to go to the final.”

Pune have had a good away record this season, but Popovic explained that they would have to play like a team to get a result in the second leg. “We did not want to be better away than at home. We wanted to be the same in both and win as many games as possible,” he revealed. “But now the winner will go to the final. So, we have to be smart and have to play like a team to win. When we play like a team, we are really good and competitive. Then, we can play against anyone.”


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Bengaluru FC and FC Pune City played out a goalless draw in the first leg of the first semi-final of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium in Pune on Wednesday. In a match of few clear-cut chances, the Blues perhaps had the best moments, but will now look to make full use of their home advantage in the second leg to enter the Final.

Speaking to the media post the match was their head coach Albert Roca, who began by sharing his views on the encounter. “I am satisfied with the result, but not happy,” he remarked. “Now we have a very tough home game against Pune. They have shown today that they are a very tough team with very good strikers and very good defenders. They are a very compact team. But we have a chance to go to the final. So, it is now in our hands and our team has to keep doing the work they have done all season.”

The Spaniard admitted that his team had the better chances, but mentioned that nerves got the better of the players. “We were the only team to create a couple of good chances, both of which came from set-pieces. But unfortunately, we have not scored. I think this game was a scare for the players.”

He further elaborated, “We have worked so hard all season to be there in the top four. So, this game was like a panic. Nobody wants to make an error and concede a goal because we know how important that can be. It was perhaps a very tactical game, but we have not scored. So, let’s see if we can score at home.”

The 55-year-old also maintained that playing at home would definitely give his team an edge. “We know how important it could have been to score a goal today,” Roca said. “But it was not possible. And we cannot complain or cry too much. We know these kinds of games are full of nerves. But we have control over the situation, we are playing in front of our supporters and we will do everything to be in the final.”

Before signing off, he spoke about the positives from the encounter. “The positive is that we did not lose. We have it in our hands to win at home and make it to the final. Also, that we are defending well, not making mistakes. It’s the way that we can win the next game. In front of our supporters, I know we can create more chances and be a bit luckier than we were today,” he concluded. 

Published: Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:51 AM IST

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