The plan worked well but the hard work has just begun: Kiko Ramirez on Odisha FC’s win

Odisha FC registered their first-ever win against former champions Bengaluru FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL), as they won 3-1. Javi Hernandez pounced on a failed clearance from Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to give Odisha the lead in the 3rd minute before Alan Costa equalized from a corner in the 21st minute.

A magnificent free-kick taken by Hernandez from just outside the box restored Odisha’s lead at the start of the second half. The drama continued when Sunil Chhetri was denied from the penalty spot by the outstretched palm of Kamaljit Singh. Aridai Cabrera scored a third goal for Odisha FC to seal the three points for them.

Elated at his side’s display, Odisha FC head coach Kiko Ramirez reflected on the game in the official post-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from his press conference:

Despite the result, Bengaluru FC had more of the ball, especially in the first half, was that something that was planned, or would you look to improve on that?

Of course, we wanted to have more of the ball in the first half, but we have a plan and we knew the strengths and weaknesses of Bengaluru FC and it was something we had thought about, making fast counter attacks, because the physical condition is important, and we wanted to keep the ball. The plan worked well and the changes suited the players, and it proved that.

Odisha FC which had just two wins last season, in the first game you got a very commanding win, especially against a side Odisha FC has never beaten, so how is the team looking forward to the season?

Winning is always good but it’s just the start we’ve got to keep working hard and keep going this way and the objective is to make Odisha a big club in the Indian Super League and the only way to do that is by doing like that and working hard in training.

Javi has scored in each and every game barring one including pre-season friendlies, is he someone who can be stopped?

We like all the players, we are happy with the performance in training. Today, Vinit or Jerry did a wonderful job through which Javi scored two goals but the coach was in Poland so he knew the player and he adapted very well and we are happy. We know Javi is a goalscorer, he proved that during pre-season and he proved that today. Also when we made the changes, Jonathas also did a good job, and then when Aridai and Liridon came onto the pitch the team improved, we are happy with the performance of all players, also of Hector and Victor, and also of all Indian players and foreigners, of everybody in the team. It’s a team victory, not a one-man victory.

You’re the only team who didn’t play the first round of fixtures, was it a bit of an advantage seeing the other teams playing and coming into this game?

It will be a really difficult competition for every team and the physical aspect will be very important for this season and the way that all teams manage that aspect will be a key for having success, and we don’t think starting late will be an advantage, the competition is really hard for everybody.

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