ISL 2017/18: ATK's Robin Singh not upset by banter from Bengaluru FC fans
The former Blues striker was targeted after he picked a fight with midfielder Erik Paartalu
A number of familiar faces were in the opposite camp when Bengaluru FC hosted defending ISL champions ATK on Sunday night at the Kanteerava Stadium. And one among them was Robin Singh - a former champion with the Blues before he parted ways with the club.
The Indian striker started up front for ATK and though there were a few cheers prior to the start of the game, the mood quickly changed when Robin and Erik Paartalu had a heated exchange in the middle.
"It's always great to return to Bengaluru," Robin said. "It's one of my favourite two cities - Kolkata and Bangalore.
However, the home fans were not so welcoming when he clashed with the big Australian midfielder. And the West Block Blues let him know their feelings loud and clear with chants directed at Robin.
But it wasn't something that perturbed him. The 27-year-old striker, who has 29 international caps, knew it was coming and brushed it aside.
"Obviously I respect them and they respect me. Banter is banter and that's about it," he said knowingly.
"Some days they like me and on some days they don't like me. It's alright."
Paartalu and Robin had also made up after the game, shaking hands as they went their separate ways.
ATK lost only because of one mistake: Robin
Bengaluru may have won the game 1-0 but the 90 minutes at the Kanteerava did see a cagey affair. Both sides had almost the same number of shots on target while ATK also managed to have more possession (54% to 46%).
All it took was one moment of brilliance from Chhetri to pounce on a loose back pass to score from distance to give the home side all three points.
"Unfortunately, one mistake was all it took and Bengaluru FC converted that and that's about it," he explained.
Robin also claimed that ATK were never in it for a draw and that they had come to Bengaluru in the hope of getting all three points.
"Our plan was always the same - we came to collect three points," he said. "On some days you win and on some days you don't."
There was some concern when Robin Singh was spotted near the dugout prior to kickoff as the physio used the pain relief spray on the striker's calf. Robin was not available for the team photo as a result.
But he managed to play 76 minutes before he was hooked off. It was around the same time he clashed with Paarrtalu and ATK coach Teddy Sheringham did not want to risk a red card.
And what about the pain releif spray?
"That's my ritual," he said with a grin. "I use it like deodarant!"