On Sunday evening, FC Pune City's Indian Super League (ISL) campaign was cut short by Bengaluru FC in the second leg of their semi-final play-off which ended in a 3-1 aggregate win for the Blues.
Speaking of the result, head coach Ranko Popovic stated that the lack of experience on his side was evident at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium. Further, assessing their performance of the 2017-18 chapter, he admitted it was a brilliant campaign for his side which had clinched a berth in the top four for the first time.
‘’The first two goals showed the inexperience. If we had made such a mistake in any other game, it would have been fine but making it in the second leg of a semi-final was a bit too much. We didn’t give up and tried coming back. We tried to make the game difficult for them. We tried to be in the game.
"We can’t be disappointed with our season. We made a very good season for FC Pune City. The team needs experience. It was a great result for us. Our whole championship was fantastic; we can be satisfied,’’ he commented.
Bengaluru skipper Sunil Chhetri stole the limelight on the big day as he bagged a hat-trick which led The Blues to the finale in their debut season. When asked to describe the former Mumbai City striker’s performance, the Serbian coach only had words of praise for the Indian international.
‘’Sunil Chhetri is the best player India have now. These kinds of players know to play such games (like semi-final). He scored a hat-trick. I’m not happy that he was the hero of the match as I would have liked some hero from our side. But if it has happened, it means we need to learn from this,’’ he expressed.
Further, the 50-year-old expressed his urge to build someone as impressive as Chhetri in his team in the future as he stated, ‘’Two years ago, our youngsters wouldn’t have thought they would play against Sunil Chhetri. Now they had the chance. They didn’t lose the chance despite us not winning. They can use the chance maybe next year and we can have someone like Sunil Chhetri in our team.’’
Lastly, the former Zaragoza gaffer signed off stating, ‘’I wish Bengaluru the best of luck and they deserve to be in the final.’’