Roca keen to cap off a brilliant season with a trophy

Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 finalists Bengaluru FC will find themselves with another chance of winning a silverware in less than a month when they take on Hero I-League heavyweights East Bengal in the Final of the inaugural Hero Super Cup on Friday. As the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar gears up to crown the first champion of the competition, India will lay witness to two footballing giants renewing rivalry to emerge as the eventual winner. 

Addressing the media on the eve of the all-important encounter, the Blues’ head coach Albert Roca stated that Friday’s Final will be a new opportunity for his side to add another trophy to their cabinet, after the disappointment of the Hero ISL final loss to Chennaiyin FC. “We have to forget the ISL final now. We played really well, we finished top of the table with an eight-point lead. But the rules gave the other teams an opportunity to win, which is usually not the case in a league system,” he said. 

“We’ve overcome that problem, that game, and tomorrow is a new opportunity to add a trophy to our cabinet and that's what we're all looking to do. To win the Super Cup will be a dream come true. What’s important is that the name of Bengaluru FC is in the headlines because our performances have been good. The trophy will cap off a brilliant season and we’re all working really hard for that,” he shared. 

Their opponents have enjoyed a fruitful time in the competition so far and boast of being the only side in the competition to maintain two clean sheets or more. When asked about them, the 55-year old wasn’t shy in signalling out their strengths. “East Bengal are a club we respect a lot. They have very good players and they will want the title as much as we do. We will play positive football and take the pitch wanting to put on a good show,” he asserted. 

Roca further added, “They have good players. Dudu (Omagbemi) and Katsumi (Yusa) are good players, even (Mahmoud) Al Amna has shown that he is one of the best foreigners to play in this country. They have enough power to win and we have to manage the situation well and defend well. We will have to find a balance between attack and defence. To lead from the beginning is always important in a final, but who knows?” 

Meanwhile, East Bengal’s head coach Khalid Jamil made no secret of his strategy ahead of the Final, while speaking to the present media. “We need to be positive and go ahead,” he stated.

“Bengaluru FC are a good team. We need to be positive all throughout. There is always a temptation to try and think differently for a final. But we need to go ahead with normal preparations which we do for every match. We need to think about ourselves and stay positive. We need to play our game.” 

The dominance of Bengaluru’s terrific trio of Udanta Singh, Miku and Sunil Chhetri has been one of the highlights of the competition, but the 40-year-old chose not to look much into them. “Everyone is speaking about the trio. But in the midfield, Lenny (Rodrigues) has been in sublime form too. There’s quality in every department in their team and not just about their strikers. Their bench strength is very strong,” Jamil concluded.

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