BFC braces up for giant-killer Gokulam Kerala FC

After the Indian Super League silverware eluded it narrowly, it's another chance to wrap up the season with a laurel, said BFC head-coach Albert Roca.

BFC coach showed his concerns over a few players' fitness but he brushed aside any 'excuses' before his boys hit the pitch.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Indian Super League finalist Bengaluru FC is gearing up to face 'giant-killer' Gokulam Kerala FC in the Round of 16 of the Hero Super Cup 2018 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday.

Although the Spanish coach stated that his boys are ready for the challenge, he iterated that they're not under any pressure.

"There isn't much pressure, it's a challenge. We've put a lot of energy into the ISL and we had a good season. It was a shame not to win the title, but I think we showed how strong and consistent we can be", Roca said.

Meanwhile, he mentioned that after the Indian Super League silverware eluded it narrowly, it's another chance to wrap up the season with a laurel and they're up for the challenge.

"It's always difficult to get back from a final and renew your hopes to win a title, but this is a big opportunity to win silverware and we'll be doing our best out there."

His team had clinched the Federation Cup last season from Odisha and the coach vented that it would like to repeat the feat once again.

"We won the Federation Cup last time, so it's on our mind to win this title again", Roca added.

Nishu Kumar, the young agile defender with Bengaluru FC, chipped in as well, "As a player, you go into any tournament wanting to win. Every time we go out to the pitch, we want to make sure we do our best, and that's the most important part."

The coach showed his concerns over a few players' fitness but he brushed aside any 'excuses' before his boys hit the pitch.

"The only way to succeed is to work hard and that's what we'll do. We had a lot of players who weren't in their best shape after the final stages of the ISL, but we've recovered and we won't be looking for excuses."

'Target was to qualify for final rounds'

Gokulam Kerala FC coach Bino George, on the other hand, cleared that its target was to qualify for the Hero Super Cup final rounds and it has already achieved that.

"Our primary target was to qualify for the final rounds and we did that. Now, we are up against Bengaluru FC. We are aware of their credibility, but we are not getting into the shell before the final whistle blows", the coach was brimming with confidence at the pre-match press conference.

"We have nothing to lose. We beat Northeast United FC in the qualifiers and then only we knew who are we going to face in the next match. We are confident and we'll show our game on the pitch tomorrow", George added further.

Muhammed Rashid, the youngster from the Kerala-outfit went on to say that locking horns with BFC will provide it with added motivation to show its worth on the pitch.

"We all know about them and their past records. We are not getting intimidated at all. The match is going to be played on the pitch and we are ready for the tough tussle awaiting us tomorrow."