ISL 2019-20: Carles Cuadrat praises side's 'record 10th clean sheet' after stalemate against Chennaiyin
Bengaluru FC were held to a 0-0 draw by neighbors Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League on Sunday. In a match where both teams needed the win to further their aspirations this season - Bengaluru for a top 2 spot in the table, Chennaiyin for a top 4 spot and the playoffs - the decisive goal proved elusive as both teams canceled each other out.
Despite the defences being dominant, both teams had chances to take the game. Bengaluru keeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu got a vital hand to a shot from Andre Schembri in the 79th minute which then enabled his defence to clear the danger.
Substitute Semboi Haokip just a minute later had a great chance for Bengaluru when 1-on-1 with the keeper, but his shot cannoned back off the upright.
Bengaluru played without their skipper Sunil Chhetri in this game, with Deshorn Brown flanked by Udanta Singh and Ashique Kuruniyan on either side.
Bengaluru coach Carles Cuadrat after the game said both teams went for the three points.
"We were both fighting for the win. Both teams played a nice match, we put quality on the pitch. The three points were important for both teams and I think you could see that in the game."
Asked about Chhetri's omission from the game - he ended up being an unused substitute on the night - Cuadrat said it was down to a slight niggle that the Indian skipper had picked up.
"It is not an injury, but he has been suffering from some slight pain in his hamstring. So as a precaution we chose to rest him for this game."
Despite not playing, Chhetri was involved in an on-pitch fracas after the final whistle with some of the Chennaiyin players and the officiating crew. He was shown a yellow card in the process.
Asked if the yellow card may have been intentional so as to pick up the suspension for the Kerala Blasters game and be available for the ATK game, Cuadrat was quick to deny it and suggested it was blasphemous to think so.
"We are football people. There was a lot of heart there (from Sunil). It was not intentional. He’s angry because we are playing for the top spot and did not get an important win. If we lost today, it (ATK game) was not important. So, I think the suggestion is stupid," he said.
Cuadrat added that it stemmed from his anger at Lucian Goian not being called for a foul inside the box for a raised foot in the final minutes of the game.
"It was a foul from Goian, but it was not given because it was inside the box. Anywhere else in the pitch, it is given. I cannot understand some interpretation of the rules by the referees. Sometimes I think they don't know the rules."
Cuadrat also laid into official Crystal John for his decision to give possession to Chennaiyin after he inadvertently got in the way of the ball.
"He is giving the ball to the opposition when he touched the ball. He should’ve given it to us. He touched the ball when we were attacking outside their box and he decides to give the ball to them and stop the play. Earlier in the game, Udanta is fouled and he is playing advantage to us when it is actually a 2-v-1 situation in favour of Chennaiyin. I don't understand these things. It’s a constantly bad interpretation by the referees."
While the reigning champions couldn't find the back of the net, they did continue their impressive defensive run by picking up yet another clean sheet, their 10th of the season. It was a feat that left Cuadrat very impressed.
"Throughout the season the defence has been playing very good, against very good strikers in the league like Coro, Santana, Valskis. Even today I told them to play from the back, set the platform for the game. 10 clean sheets is a new record, something which no other team has done in the ISL. It is a great achievement from our side."
With the draw, Bengaluru are now four points behind both FC Goa and ATK who occupy the top two spots in the table and consequently will land the two berths in next year's AFC Champions League if they finish that way come the end of the season.
But Cuadrat believes the task is difficult, but still not out of reach.
"We need Goa to lose. It is difficult and thus not in our hands. But we will continue to fight and give our best effort to try to break into the top two."
Published 10 Feb 2020, 02:08 IST