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ISL 2018-19 Final: Sunil Chhetri - Defending was important against FC Goa

19:18 GMT 17/03/2019
Sunil Chhetri Nita Ambani Bengaluru FC Goa ISL final
The Bengaluru skipper reveals the Blues worked hard on set-pieces especially after last year's final defeat...

In a hard-fought final of the 2018-19 Indian Super League (ISL), Bengaluru FC took it to extra time and won 1-0 against FC Goa on Sunday.

Bengaluru FC captain Sunil Chhetri discussed the reason for the triumph that led to their maiden ISL trophy. "The only difference in this game was that the attackers would come back and defend. You cannot not do this against a team like Goa. They have players that can change the game at any second.

The message from the coach was that we try to attack but as soon as we lose the ball, we come back and defend, have the numbers (at the back). For players like me, Miku and Udanta (Singh), it was not easy because we are attacking minded players. I am glad we did it because Nishu (Kumar) and (Harmanjot) Khabra got that security when Udanta and I traced back," he told after the celebrations that followed.

The forward, who scored nine goals in the season outlined that defending well against the Gaurs paid off. "You cannot give much space to Goa. It is commendable that a player like (Ferran) Corominas did not get open chances against us in three games. That tells you how much importance the coach gives on coming back and defending.

"Saying that you are a big team and you attack really well but coming back and defending is probably what won us the trophy."

It took a Rahul Bheke header in the 117th minute from a Dimas Delgado corner-kick to ensure victory - their eighth goal of the season through set-pieces. "It feels good, we have really worked hard. I think we have not conceded a single goal in set-pieces (apart from Carlos Calvo's free kick in Jamshedpur and penalties).

"We gave one and a half day to set pieces. I guess it is a fact that every 5th or 10th goal is scored from set pieces. We worked hard especially after losing the final last year. We did not want the same thing to happen today," he said. Bengaluru lost the 2017-18 ISL final to Chennaiyin 3-2, which included two goals conceded from set-pieces.

"It's good to have so many threats that we have; Dimas (Delgado) is very good in deliveries. We have genuine headers in Khabra, Bheke and myself. Miku and Erik (Paartalu) have been threats as well. It was not on chance that we won the final through a set piece," the 34-year-old commented.