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"No words to define outstanding Sunil Chhetri," says Bengaluru FC coach Albert Roca

Chhetri's hat-trick propelled Bengaluru FC to the ISL final as the Blues beat Pune City 3-1

FEATURED COLUMNIST
News 12 Mar 2018, 01:10 IST
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Albert Roca Sunil Chhetri ISL
Albert Roca hugs Sunil Chhetri after Bengaluru qualify for the final [Image: ISL]

Following Sunil Chhetri's hat-trick in the second leg of the ISL semi-final between Bengaluru FC and Pune City, Blues coach Albert Roca was full of praise for his skipper's performance on a night when the home side sealed their place in the Indian Super League final.

"What can I say? He is an outstanding player," Roca gushed. "There are no words to define him. In such an important game... Whether he is 33 or 34 years old - it doesn't matter.

"He has proved that he is young and has the same mentality. He pushed the others, he is a wonderful player and an outstanding person.

"But as a team we would like to be focused not only on him. It is also important to focus on the squad, the technical staff after this important game."

I don't know if it was a penalty: Roca

"It's difficult [to pick one moment]. They had one opportunity but I am yet to see if it was a penalty or not when Subhasish made a foul and the referee gave a free-kick. I have to see if it was inside the box or outside the box but that was a very important moment for sure.

"The second goal gave us a little breathing room," Roca continued. "I think we played a good team with strikers that can punish us in two seconds. We did that so we suffered in the second half."

BFC 2-1 FCPC
Bengaluru
were
under pressure when Pune City made it 2-1 [Image: ISL]

"Mentally it was difficult at 2-1 because one more goal for them and the situation would not have been easy for us to handle. But Sunil gave us that last breath with few minutes left - not good for my heart!"

Pressure on Bengaluru to play the final at Kanteerava: Roca

The ISL final was originally supposed to be held in Kolkata but ATK's poor form (they finished ninth) and the poor turnout compared to the Kanteerava had prompted the ISL authorities to shift the final to Bengaluru instead.

"There are two sides to it," Roca said. "On one hand it is what we wanted - to play here in front of our fans. And I'm very happy about that - for the city, for everybody.

"But it also puts us under pressure because we cannot fail, playing at home. But this is the final - it is a special moment where we have to control our emotions.

"Let's see, we have this opportunity and we'll do everything possible to win the title."

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