Carles Cuadrat: ‘They almost killed Sunil Chhetri’

Carles Cuadrat, the Bengaluru FC head coach, expresses concern over the fact that “risky situations” in his side’s clash against Kerala Blasters were not punished by the match referee.

The contest between Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters on Wednesday was an ill-tempered one.   -  K. Murali Kumar

On the eve of his side’s clash against Kerala Blasters, Bengaluru FC (BFC) head coach Carles Cuadrat appealed to Indian Super League (ISL) coaches to refrain from arguing and putting pressure on referees. But come match day, it was all too much to take for Cuadrat.

The Spaniard was upset with a few dangerous tackles that flew in from the visitors, and at one point, a furious Cuadrat even threw a water bottle in the direction of the fourth official.

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Right through the match, the referee, Tejas Nagvenkar, was trigger shy. This only led to more rough play from both teams — flying elbows, two-footed challenges and more. Nagvenkar issued six yellow cards in total — four to Kerala and two to BFC — but that did not prevent scuffles from breaking out.

‘Have to protect talent’

“I had said on Tuesday that I don’t want to blame referees, but come on, they are here to protect the game. There were a lot of risky situations which were not punished — I cannot understand this,” Cuadrat said, at the post-match press conference.

Cuadrat referred to a tackle from Nemanja Lakic-Pesic in the 30th minute, which caught Sunil Chhetri on his right knee. “They (Lakic-Pesic) almost killed Sunil in the 30th minute. It was an incredible tackle, but there was no yellow card. Sunil received a similar tackle against Mumbai, and then, too, there was no yellow card. We have to protect the talent. Everyone in the country will be very upset if Sunil gets injured, and he is forced out of action for a period of time,” Cuadrat said.