Roca: 'India no more a cricket-only country'

Bengaluru FC coach Albert Roca lauded the support his team received from all over the country as BFC became the first Indian club to reach the final of the AFC Cup.

Bengaluru FC players celebrate after winning the AFC Cup semifinal against Johor Darul Ta’zim in Bengaluru.   -  K. Murali Kumar

After Bengaluru FC's 3-1 win over defending champion Johor Darul Ta'zim which made the club the first Indian outfit to reach the AFC Cup final, its manager Albert Roca proudly declared that India was no more a "cricket-only country".

"It’s a great day. India is not a cricket-only country anymore. I am very happy. The way everybody has gotten involved. The support from other teams in India as well has been heartening.”

Skipper Sunil Chhetri, who produced a stellar performance himself, too lauded the team.

“I don’t want to sound overconfident, but I completely expected this performance from the players,” he said. “Not just that we scored three goals, but the way we played.”

In the three matches prior to this, there were minor apprehensions about the team's goal-scoring abilities with the side having just scored two. But three goals on Wednesday - two from set-pieces - no doubt brought relief.

“I have always maintained that the goals will come,” said Chhetri. “The most important thing is to keep trying. Today we dominated them.”

Roca was particularly impressed with the way his side won. “What I saw today was wonderful. And now to win the title, we have to have the same mentality. This is the right way to go into the final and also the right way to grow.”

On his part, Johor coach Mario Gomez conceded that his side wasn’t good enough. “We are winning won 1-0,” he said. “When you make a mistake from a free-kick or corner, and concede through a corner and one long shot, it’s tough. But we didn’t play well.”

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