Bengaluru FC got their Indian Super League (ISL) campaign off to the perfect start with a 1-0 win over defending champions Chennaiyin FC at the Sree Kanteerava stadium.
A 41st minute strike from Venezuelan striker Miku was enough for Carles Cuadrat’s men to notch up their maiden win over the opposition on home soil.
Assessing the game after the win, Cuadrat said, “I think we played a really good come. We kept the ball moving with a lot of intensity. We were trying to play one-touch football through the middle. We had very good counter-attacks in the second half. The way we scored the goal was a great assist from Xisco (Hernandez) for Miku.”
John Gregory’s men had plenty of chances to take the lead in the first-half of the match with striker Jeje Lalpekhlua finding himself in great positions on a couple of instances.
Asked if the 1-0 result flattered Bengaluru, Cuadrat vehemently disagreed.
“If you analyse the first half, they created some chances but all of them were due to mistakes by us in the transition. Maybe because it was the first game, maybe it was because we came into the game on the back of two losses in the AFC Cup (against Altyn Asyr),” the Spaniard replied.
“The guys in the defence were a little nervous. They were very good with the tactical work and you can see they were working the line very well. At the same time, there were little personal mistakes. Maybe it was just a question of it being the first game of the season,” he continued.
The Bengaluru coach stressed on the importance of scoring the first goal in a battle between two evenly matched teams.
Explaining the fine margins of error, Cuadrat said. “You know Chennaiyin, they are a very competitive team. Their morale is very high because they are the champions from last season. In these kind of close games, normally the team which scores the first goal can make a change in the game. If you take a bad touch, it is not easy for you to be defending.
“We were lucky to be the first team to score. If they had scored first with the chances they had, it would have been a completely different game. This is football, when the two teams are really competitive, it happens.”
The Spanish coach also took the opportunity to laud Harmanjot Khabra’s performance in midfield in what was an unfamiliar role for the right-back.
“We had to cope with the injury to Dimas (Delgado) as we lost a very important player in midfield. I think we can be very happy with the work of Khabra. He hasn’t played in that position before but because of the changes in the squad, we thought we could use him in both positions – in defence and in midfield. For him, it was the first test (in midfield) and he did very well,” he stated.