Bengaluru FC registered a brilliant 2-1 win over league leaders FC Goa with a brace from Sunil Chhetri in the second half. Coach Carles Cuadrat highlighted on how important the victory over Goa was as his side are very much in with a chance to top the standings at the end of the league stage and thus, earn a berth in the AFC Champions League group stage.
“There are still games to play in the league and anything can happen. But if we lost this game, we would be far from the fight for the (AFC) Champions League. So it was very important,” said Cuadrat.
Manuel Onwu made his way back into the team as he came on for Udanta Singh at the start of the second half. However, the striker was withdrawn in the final quarter of the game.
“I took Onwu aside and told him, 'I need you to start in the second half' to control the possession because he is more technical than Semboi (Thongkhosiem Haokip). He (Onwu) has been [here] two months without playing so I asked him, 'maybe if you don't arrive well at the end of the game, I will have to substitute you again. So will you have a problem with that?' and he agreed with that,” explained Cuadrat.
The Spaniard mentioned that while FC Goa are a good team, they are certain weaknesses which side exploited on the night which earned them three crucial points.
“I think Goa is a good team. They play very good football. A lot of times, we have had more possession, more shots but we have not been getting points. So at the end it's a fight that every team is trying to take advantage of his (Sergio Lobera's) team's weak points.
“Before the game, I told the boys that it is a must win game and to give all they have. You can lose 0-2, 0-3 but what you cannot do is not put all your soul in the game. That's why I took Udanta (Singh) out. He has to learn,” he stated.
Udanta was taken off after a rather poor first half as the winger struggled to get involved in the play. Cuadrat was asked to share his thoughts on why he chose to drop the India international on the bench for the second half.
“He (Udanta) is a great player. He has to give a lot to the team. He also plays for the (Indian) national team. He lost every challenge today. In attack, I asked him to take on players one-on-one but he was not in a situation to show that. He was not doing it and we had to look at other solutions and it worked. We have to try to help him understand that he needs to make the level, otherwise there will be other players in front of him in the lineup,” he elaborated.
Cuadrat heaped praise on midfielder Dimas Delgado, who at the age of 37, is still playing an important role for Bengaluru FC in their title defence.
“He (Dimas) is having a great season, but most of the players are working a lot and giving everything to the team. Today was a victory of hearts because Goa was playing very good. They (Bengaluru players) had to be compact and help each other. They did that and we got the reward with the second goal of Sunil. Sometimes, in the last minute, the luck has been against us. It means a change of dynamic for us.”