Bengaluru FC staged a comeback victory at the Kanteerava Stadium on Tuesday evening, versus Mohun Bagan, in what was a spirits-lifting victory. in an Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) Cup Group E tie.
It was The Mariners' Katsumi Yusa who registered the first goal of the match, in the 36th minute. However, The Blues had an answer to the Japanese's strike as Sandesh Jhingan netted the equalizer in the second half. Skipper Sunil Chhetri sealed the deal for Albert Roca and company by scoring the winner in the 57th minute to grab full points for the JSW-owned outfit, who now sit second in their group.
Commenting on the result, Bengaluru FC head coach Albert Roca stated that the face-off was arduous and a few errors resulted in conceding the initial goal.
''It was a really tough game - one of the top fixtures in India. We didn’t play well in the first half. We made a few mistakes which cost us the goal. In the second half, it was difficult to come back,'' he mentioned.
The Spanish manager believed that his side were dominant towards the latter half and bounced back well. ''We were physically superior in the second half and have shown that Bengaluru (FC) are trying to come up. This is a competition where we can do well and we are trying to do our best,'' he expressed.
Bengaluru haven't had a merry journey in I-League so far as they stand fifth on the points table with 18 points in their kitty. The 54-year-old claims the 2-1 victory would boost the morale of the players. Further, he applauded the determination of the squad for their performance.
''The win eases the pressure a lot. We needed a win. I think the team showed their spirit in the second half and proved that they never surrender,'' he remarked.
The gaffer also had words of appraisal for the crowd present at the stadium. He thanked them for their undying support in the club's tough phase of results.
''I am really proud of these fans, too. I haven’t seen something like this, the fans have been supporting even in a difficult situation. The victory helps our spirit, for the team and also the players. I hope to move forward and never, ever lose morale,'' Roca signed off.
As for opponents Mohun Bagan, their coach Sanjoy Sen thought the visiting side could have easily sealed the win in the first 45 minutes. Sen indicated that Katsumi Yusa's exit due to injury affected the team immensely.
''We could have finished the match in the first half, surely. Maybe Jeje (Lalpekhlua) could have scored two or three goals and we would have finished it. But sadly football is for two halves and not just one. Unfortunately, the team lost the shape especially when Katsumi (Yusa) went out,'' he explained.
The Kolkata boss was confident that his side played better than the defending I-League champions in the first half. And, it was only because of the knocks faced by the players, that The Mariners missed out on the victory.
''I think we played better than Bengaluru FC. In the second half, we struggled due to injuries. But in the first half, not a single chance was created by them (Bengaluru FC),'' expressed Sen.
Lastly, on being quizzed about his plans further regarding India's top-flight league and other contests, the ex-Prayag United manager declared that the Maroon and Green brigade can easily close up the gap on the title competition and also re-organize themselves for better results.
''We have to shift our focus on I-League and then the AFC matches. We have to first look at I-League and then we will be playing in Bangladesh. So, we have enough time to re-organize ourselves. Also, there is enough time to cover up the title challenge, I believe. There should be no problem,'' he concluded.