Coach Albert Roca Speaks About The Blues’ Gritty Performance, Debuts And Tactics On A Cold Rainy Night
A new-look Bengaluru FC resumed their 2017 AFC Cup campaign with a dominant 3-0 win over 4.25 SC on a rain-soaked night at the Fortress. The South Zone champions and 2016 AFC Cup Runners-up stuck to their game plan and capitalized on their chances to take the upper hand going into the second leg in the inter-zone semifinal.
Head Coach Albert Roca was delighted with the overall performance and praised the team’s character despite the hard settings of the game. “The result (3-0) is very good. To be honest, it was a tough game. There wasn’t much difference between the two teams and they played very good as well. But I think we played intelligently in the right moments of the game. We read the game better and from there, we took advantage of our opportunities. I am happy about the result and also the fact that we understood the circumstances in the game well.”
With five new signings being handed their full debuts on the night, Roca was not just delighted with their performances, but impressed by the fact that everyone played the full game. While foreign signings Antonio Dovale, Erik Paartalu and Dimas Delgado impressed in the middle of the park their first appearance at the Fortress, defender Rahul Bheke was solid at the back combining well with Juanan, Khabra and Nishu in the defense.
However, it was newest signing, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu who stood ‘tall’ among the rest. Having arrived to Bengaluru just six days before the game, India’s No. 1 settled in fast and made his presence known to 4.25 SC attackers pulling off some impressive saves while keeping a clean sheet on debut. “I’m happy with everybody. Not just the foreign players, but the new Indian players as well. We knew how difficult it was as a (new-look) team in the first game of the season, but we showed some excellent team spirit right from the very first minute. Settling into a new team isn’t easy for the players too, but they showed excellent character and gelled in well,” said Roca.
When asked whether the opening goal changed the course of the game, Roca believed all the goals were equally crucial considering the scenario of the tie, “I think all the three goals were very important. Yes, the first goal gave us that confidence to keep working hard. For sure, we changed (our game plan) a bit after taking the lead, as it gives you a boost and you can control the game. From there on we knew what we had to do, and I think we did very well despite the weather. So, I’m very happy about this performance from our players who played intelligently.”
Goal scorer Lenny Rodrigues had to be stretchered out after taking a knock late on in the game. The lanky Goan put in a good shift in the midfield and was praised for his performances by the Coach. Speaking about his injury, Roca said, “We’ll have to check this as Lenny has had a problem with his knee in the last season as well. The heavy conditions weren’t helpful to him either. But I hope it’s nothing serious and he can make a quick return as he’s an important player for us”
With the Blues taking a three goal-advantage into the second leg, Roca wants his boys to stay calm and get the job done in Pyongyang, “I said it before as well, they are a tough opponent and it’s not going to be easy in DPR Korea as well. They’ve shown that they have some good skills and can put us in trouble in the second leg. But now we have a few days to prepare well for the game and we want to be prepared in the best possible way.”