ISL: Bengaluru FC eager to bounce back from AFC Cup exit, says Dimas Delgado

Fair or not, Bengaluru FC's entire season will be judged on its performance over the next fortnight where it takes on ATK home and away in the ISL playoffs.

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Dimas Delgado has contributed with a goal and five assists this season.   -  ISL Sportzpics

By its own exalted standards, this has been a difficult season for Bengaluru FC. The football has been dreary at times and goals have proven hard to come by. BFC missed out on top-spot in the Indian Super League table and, earlier this week, a heartbreaking defeat to Maziya S&RC on penalties ended the team's AFC Cup campaign before it had properly begun. It can be easy for players, at times like these, to get sucked into a spiral of negativity.

But Carles Cuadrat's men have an opportunity to start afresh this Sunday, with the first leg of their ISL semifinal clash against ATK at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium. For all their struggles, they have reached the knockout stages of the ISL for a third straight season. The defence has been watertight. There is still a great deal to play for.

"We have to be proud of what we have achieved this season," said BFC midfielder Dimas Delgado on Friday. "Everyone knows that we are creating a lot of chances but we haven't scored as much as we can. But we still have been very consistent. We have kept a lot of clean sheets. It gives us strength. As a team, we are very hard to beat."

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Games like Wednesday's loss to Maziya can be physically and emotionally draining. BFC does not have much time to recover, but Dimas stated the squad was raring to go.

"These last few days...everyone has been really focused," he said. "There is a hunger to play this game. It's that kind of event where you don't have to say too many things. Everyone is ready and fit. We will give all we have. If we do that, ATK will have a very tough game against us."

Fair or not, BFC's entire season will be judged on its performance over the next fortnight. Dimas, though, felt the players were not under pressure. "The pressure is what we put on ourselves because we are a team that always wants to win," he said. "It is a pressure we love, we are comfortable with, and can handle. Everyone has been fantastic in training because everyone wants to be in the XI, everyone wants to play this game."

His approach to the challenge ahead is a simple one. "You cannot give up until the whistle is blown," said Dimas. "That's the main thing for success in football. In one second, everything can change. It has to be our style: fight until the end."

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