Bengaluru FC and Sporting Clube de Goa played an entertaining 5-3 encounter at the MDS Stadium, Manjeri in a group B match of the Federation Cup.
Beikhokhei Beingacchio (5th and 41st), Sunil Chhetri (33rd) and Robin Singh (66th) had given the southern outfit a 4-0 lead which looked insurmountable.
However Sporting managed to pull three back through Boima Karpeh (74th), Beevan D’Mello (89th) and Victorino Fernandes (90+2) until Robin Singh scored the fifth in the third minute of the added on time.
“At 3-0 at half-time, you more or less got three points in the bag. You know, you can't get four points by winning seven or eight nil. So we tried to sit off for a little bit and tried to soak up the game and just hit them on the counter. We managed to do that and we got the fourth [goal]. And then they scored and we had a couple of hairy moments,” coach Ashley Westwood.
“It was a little bit naive when we tried to score the fifth and the sixth. With only five minutes to go, we could just afford to kill the game a bit. As you know, we're a pretty young side and that comes with experience. I spoke to them (players) at half-time about managing the game. You know, trying to understand where you are in the game with respect to the time,” he added.
However just when it looked like the Goan outfit would steal a point from the tie, Robin Singh scored a crucial goal to end all hopes of a comeback for the opposition. Westwood mentioned that his team have got it in them to raise their performance when called upon.
“We needed to go and get the fifth. We got it. We needed the sixth. We could have gone and got the sixth. We've always got that little extra game in our locker.
“We're young, really. Sunil [Chhetri] is 29, Johny (John Menyongar) is 34. Apart from that, everybody is 26, 25 and downwards. We're a growing club. We're trying to breed talent and try to improve players. So we took that stance at the start of the season to go with a young side and try and get some maximum improvement. So that's where we are.”
Westwood has three in-form strikers in Sean Rooney, Sunil Chhetri and Robin Singh and that shall pose a headache for him as to whom to choose ahead of the next tie against Rangdajied United.
“We've got some good strikers in good form. It's not just a 90-minute game. It's not a fluke - the way we're playing. The boys are working really hard day in and day out, be on the field, be off the field, looking after themselves as true professionals and we're seeing the rewards for that.”
The 37-year old gaffer heaped praised on Rino Anto who put in a top display for Bengaluru FC. It must be noted that the right back was signed by Mohun Bagan in the summer before being released and thereby snapped by Bengaluru.
“Rino [Anto] is in my opinion the best right back in the country by far. He's a good boy. He listens to what's been told. He's learning every day. Its extra special for him to come in to his own time and go in with a performance like that and hopefully he will continue.”
Westwood praised the ambience at the stadium where fans turn up in numbers.
“The stadium is fantastic. Just a drive up to the stadium you see on top of the hill. It's a nice when you approach the stadium and it's packed like it is today. As a footballer, you want to play in those occasions and that can only help you as a player.”