No words to describe Sunil Chhetri, Bengaluru FC coach says after ISL final entry

Sunil Chhetri scored a hat-trick as Bengaluru FC defeated FC Pune City 3-1 to enter the final of Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18. Bengaluru FC coach Albert Roca lauded his efforts

football Updated: Mar 12, 2018 09:50 IST
Sayan Ghosh
Sayan Ghosh
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Sunil Chhetri,Bengaluru FC,Indian Super League
Bengaluru FC captain Sunil Chhetri acknowledges the crowd after the team's win against Pune City in the Indian Super League semi-final on Sunday.(AFP)

When it comes to Indian football, there is hardly any name bigger than national team skipper Sunil Chhetri. The 33-year old veteran has proven his mettle over the years and he was the hero once again on Sunday as his hattrick guides Bengaluru FC to the Indian Super League final in their debut season. (Bengaluru FC vs FC Pune City, Indian Super League, highlights)

It was an absolute masterclass by Chhetri as he tormented the FC Pune City defenders with his deft touch and brilliant movement. He scored all the three goals for his side including a cheeky Panenka penalty in the second half and coach Albert Roca was lost for words to describe the performance.

“He is simply outstanding and there are no words to define him. In such an important game, he stepped up. His age does not matter. He pushes others and shows amazing intensity,” Roca said.

READ | Sunil Chettri hat-trick downs FC Pune City, guides Bengaluru FC into ISL final

Bengaluru FC were under considerable pressure after failing to score in the first-leg encounter in Pune earlier this week. But, there were no signs of the stress on Sunday as the hosts looked dominant from the beginning and Roca was quick to praise the entire team for a special performance.

“This is a team game so not just him (Chhetri) but all the people around him did well. The squad, technical staff...all were there in such an important game and they performed extremely well.”

On the other hand, FC Pune City coach Ranko Popovic rued his team’s missed chances in the second leg but said that he is quite proud of what the team has achieved under his guidance this season.

“We cannot be disappointed. It was a historical season for FC Pune City. Both goals (we conceded) was due to inexperience. It’s too much if we make such mistakes in conceding goals,” Popovic said.

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The two FC Pune City strikers - Marcelinho and Emiliano Alfaro - were extremely wasteful on Sunday and although they created a number of chances, their finishing was not up to the mark. Popovic was all praise for Sunil Chhetri’s match-winning show and said that others should learn from the veteran.

“In my opinion, Chhetri is the best player ever for India. I do not love the fact that he scored the hattrick against us but we should appreciate the quality. We can only learn from him.”

First Published: Mar 12, 2018 09:37 IST