The two tacticians offered very different takes of the showpiece game on Sunday night.
Bengaluru FC did what they set out to do in their first season in the ISL last year and they did it in a fantastic way on Sunday night. In spite of facing a mighty opponent like FC Goa, they were able to silence them. Along with the gameplay that the Blues displayed, it was the first time in the Indian Super League (ISL)’s history that the table-toppers in the league phase became the champions.
Watch: Bengaluru FC 1-0 FC Goa highlights
Goa looked like they had decided to play for penalties, wasting time more often. But Carles Cuadrat wanted to finish the game in extra-time itself. He explained, “Until the last moment, we were trying not to go to penalties. One good ball in the box and it was enough!”
He added, “Goa is a very good team. In extra-time, it was a completely different game. We are happy to have scored before we went to penalties.”
Albert Serran didn’t start the game for the Blues, but the ISL champions maintained a good defensive shape, keeping the line of defence very high. The defence kept Ferran Corominas silent again and the coach was happy about it. He said, “Nishu (Kumar), Rahul (Bheke) and (Harmanjot) Khabra were excellent! We have to be very happy with the defensive work.”
Sunil Chhetri added to the same saying, “The coach said we have to come back to defend. It is commendable that a player like Corominas did not get many chances to score.”
Chhetri reiterated the importance of set-pieces and how Cuadrat has helped the side by making them work on them. He explained, “We have worked really hard on set-pieces, so it is not a surprise that we have won on a set-piece. You know what Asia, we are back!”
Sergio Lobera opined that the sending off of Edu Bedia in the first half of extra-time hurt his side the most. He stated being one man down made it difficult for them to defend. “I think the key moment was when we were one man down at the half of extra-time. I think it was a very tight game. The sending off was a big handicap for us.”
For Lobera, his side were equals throughout the game with the Blues. He also expressed his pride for the players and the football they played. He said, “I don’t think BFC have been better than we or we have been better than BFC. It is tough losing the game in this way. We have performed the way we wanted to. I am very proud of the work done by my players.”
The Spaniard has been tipped to be the next Indian national team head coach. When questioned on whether he would like to join the Blue Tigers he opined, “Always very nice to be linked to the national team of a great country like India, but as of now, I have a one year contract remaining at Goa.”
Saviour Gama was brought into the game to replace injured captain Mandar Rao Dessai. Lobera appreciated the player’s contribution by saying, “I want to congratulate Savior Gama as he played really well. I brought one left-back for another left-back.”