Indian Super League side Bengaluru FC qualified for AFC Cup 2021 group stage after beating Maldivian side Club Eagles in a qualifier match on Sunday, August 15th.
The Blues will face the Indian side itself ATK Mohun Bagan in the first group stage match on Wednesday.
Ahead of the match, the head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli addressed the media in a pre-match presser and shared his thoughts.
Bengaluru FC struggled to find the net playing against Club Eagles as they lacked a creative midfielder. As a result, typically long balls were played constantly from defenders to attackers.
“The last game was only two days ago, so it was a short recovery. It’s not an advantage. But I can see the glass half empty or half full, and I choose to see it half full.”
“We had a nice spirit in the team after the win, which gives us energy and we are proud and happy to be in the group stage,” said Pezzaiuoli.
Debutant Jayesh Rane’s strike in the 26’th minute of the game led Bengaluru FC to a win.
Meanwhile, the Italian gaffer confidently backs his team and shares how Bengaluru are ready to counter the Kolkata side.
“We have prepared well, but I think ATK Mohun Bagan is the favourite here. They invest a lot of money to win the trophy, they were in the final last year,” he says.
“They play a lot of long balls, they like to go for the second ball and press high up on the pitch. We’re going to try and find a solution so that we can win the game.”
The head coach knows very well how the Mariners fared in the transfer window to sign some promising names.
“ATK Mohun Bagan also have changed their approach, bringing a French foreign player (Hugo Boumous) into the team. This is one of the biggest transfers in the Indian League.
“They don’t make these transfers to lose games, they want to win the league and the AFC Cup. And that’s why they invest a lot of money,” he added.
ATK Mohun Bagan will have the likes of Roy Krishna, David Williams, Liston Colaco, Manvir Singh, Hugo Boumous and others. Marco is confident about the defensive structure Bengaluru has to stop any attack from ATK Mohun Bagan.
“I don’t think we need to give special attention to any players. We have Alan, King, Pratik and Muirang are four very good central defenders. It’s a challenge every time for a high standard defender to play against a good striker, but we cannot focus on one player,” said the 52-year old.
“ATK Mohun Bagan are a team and not just a one-man show. We will defend as a team and support our goalkeeper, Gurpreet. We don’t want to concede, and we want to try and score. So, we will not be preparing anything special for anyone opposition player,” he added.
Participating in the second most important continental competition is something special for Indian clubs and the fans too.
“It’s nice that the Indians are watching this tournament because I know that we have a lot of people following us.”
“For India, it’s very important to win this group stage and make it to the next round. We have tough games, and our focus is fully on the first game,” the head coach concluded.
The match will be played at National Stadium, Male (Maldives).
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