AFC Cup: Carles Cuadrat Unhappy With Bengaluru's First-Half Against Altyn Asyr
Bengaluru FC lost 3-2 to Altyn Asyr in the first leg of the AFC Cup inter-zone play-off semi-finals and Blues manager Carles Cuadrat was quite unhappy with the way his side performed in the first half.
The Turkmenistan side scored twice in the first half to take a 2-0 lead and made it 3-0 a minute into the second half. The Blues fought back with goals from Rahul Bheke and Erik Paartalu but it wasn't enough to avoid defeat at the Kanteerava Stadium.
"We saw a game of two halves," Cuadrat said. "They went in front because we didn't play our normal game. We didn't keep the ball and protect it. They took advantage of that.
"But in the second half, it was different," he continued. "The result could have been 3-3 because we were better in the attack. We tried to change things and keep more possession of the ball and they were playing on the counter-attack.
"We put more players in midfield and moved the ball from one side to the other. And that's how we scored two goals."
Altyn Asyr coach Yazguly Hojageldyyew also admitted that his players were tiring after going 3-0 up and said that was how the Blues fought back to score twice.
There was an incident in the second half when Bengaluru's players appealed for a handball in the box but calls for a penalty were waved away by the referee, much to the players' frustration and that of the crowd.
"From the bench, it's not easy to see things (the handball occurred on the far side of the box)," he explained. "I saw the players appeal for a handball and I think it was possible [that it was a handball]."
Cuadrat unhappy with Bengaluru's first-half performance
Staring down the barrel at 3-0, Bengaluru mounted a comeback of sorts in the last half-hour to score twice and give themselves a fighting chance in the second leg in Ashgabat.
"It was nice to see all the players put in a lot of effort towards the end of the game. I think we need to play like that. Maybe because it was the first official game of the season, but the first half was not played at the speed we usually play here."
With Altyn Asyr scoring three away goals, Bengaluru need to win by two goals in the second leg to advance to the next round due to the away goal rule.
"Let's hope that the [way we played at the] end of the game gives us the confidence to go to Turkmenistan to try to win. We need to win with a two-goal difference so it's going to be tough but we will surely try."
'Fans were our 12th man'
Cuadrat also thanked the fans for their support, especially after the Blues went 2-0 down.
"They gave us fantastic support. Even at half-time, we were losing 2-0 and they started screaming and even when they made it 3-0 they still supported us.
"Today we played with 12 players because these fans were amazing. They helped us a lot!"
'Xisco was important in the second half'
New signing Xisco Hernandez played his first official match for Bengaluru today and the coach had a few words to say about him, too. The Spaniard put in a few good passes and crosses, especially in the second half when Bengaluru threatened to score.
"You could see that Xisco has a big heart. He was trying all the time. When you start playing for a new team, you need some time to adjust.
"In the first half, he wasn't participating as much as we wanted. For that kind of player with his qualities, he must participate a lot. But later on in the second half, he was very important for us."