The BFC Academy Under-16 Side Went Down 1-0 To Minerva In the Semifinal Of The Nike Premier Cup But Not Before Putting On Consistently Good Displays
The Bengaluru FC Academy Under-16 team may have been edged out 1-0 in the semifinal of the Nike Premier Cup by Minerva Punjab FC at the Cooperage, in Mumbai, on Wednesday, but head coach John Kila said he was pleased with the performance of the Blue Colts through the tournament while adding that there was much to improve upon.
“I was very happy with the way the boys played. Most of the other teams had been together for as long as a year or maybe more, but the boys had good team chemistry right from the start and that was what helped us throughout,” said the Dutchman of his squad that has spent only four months together.
In the preliminary stage of the tournament played in Goa, Bengaluru were grouped alongside Salgaocar, Sporting Clube de Goa and Dempo. But Kila’s squad made little of home advantage winning their games 4-1, 4-0 and 2-0 to make it to the group stages where they had Sudheva FC, DSK Shivajians and Redstar Football Academy for company.
In what Kila considered the team’s best game, the boys were held to their first draw against DSK Shivajians where a late equalizer from Lalrinzuala in the 87th minute gave them a point. A victory each against Redstar and Sudheva FC sent the young Blues side marching into the semifinal as Rahul Rajan and Lalrinzuala took their tournament tally to four goals each.
At Cooperage, the Academy side faced defending champions Minerva Punjab in a tough battle that saw physical strength lock horns with pure technique. But the side from Punjab pipped Bengaluru to end the Blues’ journey. In his post-game assessment, Coach Kila said, “Even though the Minerva side were physically stronger, we played a very good game and I am very happy with the side. We only conceded due to a small error in a set-piece and unfortunately it was in the semifinal. But I am extremely happy with the way the boys played the game. We have identified areas that we need to work hard on and we will only get better from here.”