FC Pune City, Bengaluru FC managers ‘satisfied’ with ISL semi-final stalemate

FC Pune City and Bengaluru FC played out a goalless draw in the first leg of the Indian Super League (ISL) semi-final on Wednesday.

football Updated: Mar 08, 2018 12:14 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
FC Pune City,Bengaluru FC,indian Super League
Vishal Kaith of FC Pune City during the first leg semi-final of the Indian Super League match against Bengaluru FC at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium, Pune, on Wednesday.(ISL)

FC Pune City and Bengaluru FC played out a goalless draw in the first leg of their Indian Super League (ISL) semi-final encounter at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium on Wednesday night. (Match highlights)

Bengaluru FC manager Albert Roca believes that both teams took a rather cautious approach through the game so as not to hand the other a goal’s advantage before the second leg.

READ | ISL: FC Pune City, Bengaluru FC play out stalemate in first leg semi-final

“We managed to create two good chances through set pieces but we could not score. The game was full of caution considering all the hard work we have put in. Nobody wanted to make a mistake and concede. Perhaps it was a very tactical game today. A draw was quite fair I feel,” Roca said at the post-match press conference.

“I am satisfied but not happy. They have showed that they are a very tough and compact team. But now we will play at home now and it is in our hands. We have to keep going.”

Roca’s Pune City counterpart Ranko Popovic too seemed satisfied with the result.

“It was an important match for both the teams and nobody wanted to make a mistake. I don’t think the teams were not nervous but more careful,” said Popovic. “I’m satisfied with the performance but not with the result. Today our work was very good from our players.”

He further dubbed the 0-0 draw, the two team’s third meeting in all, as an ‘interesting’ game.

“Since coming to India, I have seen so many good matches but I have to say this game had quality and was competitive for both the teams. And it showed that a 0-0 game can be interesting.”

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The goalless draw means that Bengaluru FC will not have an away goal to fall back upon when they host Pune City at the Sree Kramteveera Stadium in the reverse fixture on March 11.

But Roca didn’t seem too worried about his side’s inability to find the net at Pune’s home ground, a stadium at which they had managed to net three during their first visit in the league phase.

“We knew how important it was to score today, but we cannot complain now. But by finishing first in the league phase we have proved that we are able and can score one goal more than our opponent. At home we will have our supporters and I know we can create some more chances and may even have some more luck,” said Roca.

“We know we have to win and score one more goal than our opponents now.”

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For Pune City and Popovic, going into the their most important game until date when they travel south, having not granted Bengaluru FC an away goal will not be an advantage.

“Advantage is when you win the game in 90 minutes. We are going there to score a goal and win the game. We must do this if we want to enter the final,” said Popovic.

First Published: Mar 08, 2018 09:50 IST