Ranko Popovic: Chhetri is the best Indian player ever

FC Pune City bowed out of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 after going down 3 – 1 to Bengaluru FC in the second leg of the second semi-final at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday. Sunil Chhetri came all guns blazing and scored a hat-trick, while Jonatan Lucca had briefly given the Stallions a glimmer of hope by making the score-line 2 – 1 at one point.

Addressing the media at the post-match press-conference was their head coach Ranko Popovic, and he sportingly congratulated his opponents for their achievement. “Congratulations to Bengaluru for making the final and also all the best to them for that match,” he stated. “They won the game, and they deserve to play in the final which will be played here. They have fantastic supporters, and a fantastic atmosphere here.”

“We tried to make life difficult for them and win the game today. This was our target, but we cannot be disappointed after a historical season for FC Pune City,” Popovic said before elaborating on the goals conceded by Pune. “Both the first goals came from inexperience and if you make these kind of mistakes, in this kind of a game like a semi-final, it is difficult. We tried to be positive and did not give up, but it was just not possible today.”

Popovic also lauded Sunil Chhetri for his stand-out performance on the pitch. “I think Sunil Chhetri is the best ever Indian player till now,” he said. “And also, these kind of players know how to play these kind of games. He scored a hat-trick, and he was the hero. The young players should learn from this. Maybe next year we can get someone in our team who can score three goals like that.”

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