The Blues progressed to the last eight of the tournament after defeating the southerners.
Bengaluru FC saved themselves from an upset at the hands of Gokulam Kerala FC when they came from behind to win 2-1 in the second pre-quarterfinal of the Hero Super Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday. As Henry Kisekka gave Gokulam the lead in the first half, the Blues seemed to be in a tight spot before Miku and Udanta Singh combined beautifully to win them the match in injury time.
Albert Roca, Bengaluru’s head coach, looked relieved in the post-match press conference and shared with the media as to what might have gone wrong with them in the first period, which they failed to dominate. “In football, it is important just to concentrate from the first minute. Perhaps we were not doing so. It was difficult for us because we had a break and after the league, I knew that it will be difficult for my players to start a competition. But it’s part of being a human being, that you want relaxed time sometimes. But if we are not 100%, then any team can beat us. We are a good team if we try and do things well from the first minute. The second half was much better, also because they (Gokulam) were a bit tired. We will learn from this for the next game.”
The Spaniard also admitted that they were a little scared when Gokulam were leading, as Chennaiyin FC’s plight against Aizawl FC in the first pre-quarter final was a constant reminder. Speaking on the same strain, the 55-year old said, “In the finals, we had our opportunities and it was a shame because suddenly all the work that we did all season was undone by one bad moment. But football is like this and we have to learn. Today was the first lesson, and finally, we got the good result that we wanted. We look forward to the next game and doing better.”
On the other hand, Gokulam would be highly disappointed after losing the match in injury time, but head coach Bino George looked satisfied with the brilliant fight his team forged. When asked if injuries and inexperience cost them the match, he inferred, “Yes, that’s exactly right. These boys are fans of Sunil Chhetri and of some other guys, and they have never played against such big players. But I think my boys played good football. As for injuries, it wasn’t just one player either. When Daniel Addo was out, it became difficult for the defenders. I hope we gave a good fight to Bengaluru, who are the best team in India.”
On being asked how he was planning Gokulam’s growth in the coming season and beyond, the 41-year old shared, “Now the club management has asked me to become a Technical Director, so there will be another Spanish coach. Our plan now is to make this a good professional club in Kerala, so it will all be structured from bottom to top. I am sure we will make a good team for the next season.”
After Chennaiyin FC’s defeat on Saturday, Bengaluru FC saved themselves from being the victim of another upset as they defeated Gokulam Kerala FC 2-1 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday in the Hero Super Cup. With the Hero I-League club up 1-0 at the half-time break, Bengaluru showed real grit and determination to make a revival and score the winner in injury time. Amidst all the action, it was Bengaluru’s young winger Udanta Singh who made the real difference. With an assist and the winning goal under his belt, here are excerpts from the short interview the 21-year old gave to Super Cup Media post the match.
How difficult was Gokulam?
In the first half, we almost couldn’t play. They dominated the first half. In the second half, we started playing our game and we scored goals.
Did you think you will make that assist for the first goal when you crossed it?
Of course, I believe in myself. I put the ball into space. I told him (Miku) in the second half as well, that I will make that pass and give an assist.
You have a lot of travelling to do now as the AFC Cup beckons, so are the boys feeling fit?
The boys have been taking some rest for the past six days, so it’s all looking good. We are looking forward to the next game in the AFC Cup.