Our performance warranted the win: Bengaluru FC head coach Simon Grayson
Bengaluru FC head coach Simon Grayson felt his side deserved the win as the Blues got the better of Kerala Blasters FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) knockout fixture at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Friday.
Sunil Chhetri scored a free-kick in extra-time, following which the Blasters FC decided to forfeit the game. The result ensured that Bengaluru FC advanced to the semi-finals, where they will face League Winners Mumbai City FC over two legs.
The match was an even affair with both teams trying to get the opening goal while also keeping their defence watertight. The Blues had six shots in the first half with only one on target. The Blasters dominated possession for most periods, but couldn't carve out clear-cut opportunities.
Grayson shared his thoughts on the free-kick and opened up on the conversation that took place between Chhetri and the referee.
"He's probably the only player who would've thought of taking that free-kick quickly & executed it"@bengalurufc head coach @SimonNGrayson shared his thoughts on @chetrisunil11's winner in #BFCKBFC! 🗣️#HeroISL #HeroISLPlayoffs #LetsFootball #BengaluruFC #KeralaBlasters pic.twitter.com/1qLWrwKZjs— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) March 3, 2023
"It's not the way that we wanted to get through to the semi-final, it obviously tings with all the controversy and we all know what happened. We got the free-kick and Sunil (Chhetri) said he didn't want the wall, he didn't need ten yards, and the referee said no problem. Sunil waited for (Adrian) Luna to get out of the way and then put it in the top corner,” Grayson said in the post-match press conference.
The Blues came out on top in a tightly-contested fixture with former Kerala Blasters FC captain Sandesh Jhingan leading the defence. The Blues restricted their opponents to just one shot on target and nicked a clean sheet. Grayson was pleased with the way his players kept the opposition quiet during both halves.
IT'S ALL OVER IN A FLASH! 🔥 #WeAreBFC #BFCKBFC #NothingLikeIt pic.twitter.com/SRnpaAsyRV— Bengaluru FC (@bengalurufc) March 3, 2023
"Our performance warranted the win, especially the first half we were full of energy. We had good quality, we created some really good opportunities and limited them to very few opportunities. We kept their really good players quiet and the shape was good news and we knew how to deal with certain aspects of their team. We did look at a major threat so when you look at the overall game, I thought we deserved to win the game. Full credit to the players," Grayson said.
The Blues secured their ninth straight victory which has seen them book their ticket for the semi-final clash against Mumbai City FC. This is the longest winning streak for Bengaluru FC in the Hero ISL.
"This is the most deflated I've been in the last seven or eight weeks because it's the way that the game has ended. We would've been on a high if we had won the game with the normal procedure of winning it. I'm happy that we've gone through, as I said, our performance warranted the win, and it's just another tick for this football club of going nine games on the trot to win, it takes some doing," Grayson stated.
The Blues now travel to Mumbai to take on the League Shield winners, Mumbai City FC in the first leg of the semi-final. The Blues became the first team to beat Des Buckingham's men this season. Grayson stated the match against Kerala Blasters is in the past and that he was looking forward to the game against Mumbai City FC.
"It's consigned to the history books now. There'll be some talking points in the history of Indian football, especially the way it happened, it's put to bed and now we prepare to be ready for tomorrow. Ready for going to Mumbai, the worthy champions, unbelievable team, great achievement and there's going to be a decent game just hoping that we play better than we played them earlier in the season," Grayson concluded.