ISL: Glad we won it before penalties, says BFC coach Carles Cuadrat

Rahul Bheke's 117th-minute header sealed a maiden ISL title for Bengaluru FC.

Rahul Bheke and Bengaluru FC players wheel away in celebration after Bheke's header gave the lead against FC Goa.   -  ISL/Sportzpics

It went right down to the wire, but Rahul Bheke ensured Bengaluru FC wouldn't be left ruing another loss in the final. Bheke struck with a fine header in the 117th minute - the only goal in over 120 minutes of football - to steer his side to its first Indian Super League title at the Mumbai Football Arena on Sunday. The triumph makes Bengaluru the first club to win both the Indian leagues – the ISL and the I-League.  

In the post-match conference, Bengaluru coach Carles Cuadrat remarked he was happy that his side managed to wrap the win before it got to a pentalty shootout. "It was very exciting to win in the last moment. We were trying not to take it to penalties because they're just lotteries a lot of times,” he said. 

The Spaniard went on to stress on the significance of set-piece goals in the finals. “We have to be happy that the one ball in the box gave us a victory. There have been 14 goals in ISL finals and this is the seventh goal off a set piece. That shows how important set pieces are and we have worked a lot on it,” he said. 

Cuadrat adopted a more attacking approach as opposed to a defensive one, which would have been tempting given FC Goa's free-flowing style of football. “We decided to play an offensive game and I'm very happy that it worked. Goa had a lot of chances, but (Ferran) Corominas did not participate a lot in the attack in the three games this season. We are very happy with our defensive work. (Sunil) Chhetri and Udanta (Singh) also did well in defence,” he said. 

Commenting on Goa's defence, which fended off Bengaluru's attacks until the very end, he said: “Goa is a fantastic team and has a very good defence. We know how confident they are with (Carlos) Pena and (Mourtada) Fall as central defenders. They did their job and didn't let us score. Miku had a chance in the 81st minute but hit the post.”  

Cuadrat also spoke about the idea behind the double substitution he made in the dying stages. “We tried to stay safe behind and with the last change, we put two wingers – Kean (Lewis) and Baothing (Hoakip) - and tried with Sunil and Miku to get the goal. I'm glad we got the goal before the penalties.”