Bengaluru FC might have failed to create history by becoming the first Indian football club to win an Asian title but coach Albert Roca feels that reaching the final of the AFC Cup marks the beginning of a new era for the country’s football. Bengaluru FC suffered a heartbreaking 0-1 defeat at the hands of Air Force Club of Iraq in the summit clash of the AFC Cup here last night.
“Yes, we have lost out on certain points tonight. They have played a great football but my boys have shown what they are capable of and it might indicate a start of a new era of Indian Football,” Roca said at the post-match press conference.
I-League champions Bengaluru FC became the first Indian club to qualify for the final of the AFC Cup, a second tier club competition in Asia, but were chasing for a bigger glory and unprecedented continental title. However, in the end they were beaten by a superior side.
“We didn’t play against such a strong opponent before and obviously we have learnt many a minute aspect from this match. It’ll help us prepare for future and we’ll come back stronger next season,” said Roca.
The Spanish coach applauded Air Force Club for being crowned with the coveted AFC Cup trophy and termed the achievement as a ‘well-deserved win’.
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“They played a terrific brand of football and I congratulate them from the bottom of my heart for winning the AFC Cup, that becomes more special as they are the first club from Iraq to achieve this.”
Although Roca admitted that Iraqis totally outplayed the Indian team, he acknowledged the efforts of his boys, especially goalkeeper Lalthuammawia Ralte.
“He has always pushed Amrinder (Singh) for the place in the starting eleven, and he truly performed and stood up when the situation demanded,” the coach said.