Albert Roca: We were the most consistent team this season
Bengaluru were crowned champions of the inaugural Hero Super Cup on Friday when they comfortably beat East Bengal 4-1 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. The Blues put in a five-star performance with goals from Sunil Chhetri, Miku and Rahul Bheke taking the fight away from the Hero I-League giants, who only had Ansumana Kromah’s sole strike to show for their efforts.
Albert Roca, head coach of the Blues was present to address the media at the post-match press conference and started off by congratulating his entire team for their outstanding performance. “First of all, I would like to congratulate my players and my staff. I am very happy for the supporters. We were a little bit sad after the ISL final, but today we have shown that we are the most consistent team in India.”
The Spaniard leapt to the defence of his goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who was involved in a controversial incident early in the game, while also congratulating his opponents for their fine run in the competition. “To be honest, I thought it was a yellow card. It was not a red. I try to be honest and I think East Bengal did a very good job in the first half. The red card was unfortunate for them. I would like to congratulate them on the good tournament they had.”
When asked about the turning point of the game, the 55-year-old pointed out, “(Other than the red card), there was another turning point when Antonio Dovale came in the second half. He was always asking for the ball and he was very brave. He gave us a lot of peace and from then on, the game was easier.”
Given the season Bengaluru have had, Roca claimed that his side merited the tag of being the best team in the league. “This year we have proved ourselves in the ISL with our performances. And after that, it was not easy for us to come here. I am very happy with the way my team played in the tournament. In three of the four games, my team came back from losing positions, so I am very happy for them.”
From East Bengal’s end, head coach Khalid Jamil took questions from the media after the game. Despite the loss, Jamil was proud of his players for the efforts they put in. “Talking about this game, everybody worked very hard. They started the game well and finished well, but the score did not favour us.”
The 40-year-old concluded by citing the red card awarded to Samad Ali Mallick as the turning point of the game. “I didn’t see the red card incident. I was quite far away. But I think that was a turning point in the game. It is very difficult to play with 10 men against Bengaluru.”