Punjab FC head coach Staikos Vergetis appreciated his team’s development as they came from behind against Bengaluru FC to secure a 3-1 win in Matchweek 13 of the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi on Saturday. 

With this win, the Shers from the North secured their second victory in ISL with their first coming against Chennaiyin FC back in December 2023. Bengaluru FC captain Sunil Chhetri opened the scoring in the 15th minute of the match, with a cheeky header to put Naorem Roshan Singh’s pinpoint cross in the back of the net.

Unfortunately for the Blues, the lead didn’t last long as within the next eight minutes Colombian forward Wilmar Jordan Gil equalised for Punjab FC in similar fashion from a Tekcham Abhishek Singh cross. As the clock hit the 71st-minute mark, captain Luka Majcen sent the ball past the keeper to score his fourth goal of the season, turning things around for the Shers. French midfielder Madih Talal capitalised on an Aleksandar Jovanovic mistake to wrap up the game in the 77th minute ending the match 3-1 for Punjab FC.

Vergetis made changes to his attack since their defeat to Odisha FC in December, with Jordan Gil and Luka Majcen playing together upfront for the first time this season with Madih Talal playing behind them. All three were on the scoresheet and formed a lethal partnership upfront that kept the Bengaluru FC defence on their toes. 

The first is that the new formation that you are playing, the last period, as it showed in the (Kalinga) Super Cup, also that makes us more dangerous in the opponent area. We took advantage of that and Jordan is ready to play now. And with the two strikers in front, I think that we have more options in attack and we are more dangerous in front,” stated Vergetis in the post-match press conference.

“The second is that our players start to obtain one dynamic that gave them the first round. The first round was the 12 games for us (from the first half of the season). The players took experiences that now are useful for them to face the situations of the game and (they are) more prepared,” he added.

The Greek tactician expressed his confidence in the exceptional 19-year-old midfielder Abhishek Singh, who played a pivotal role in Punjab FC's victory. Singh not only set up the opening goal for Gil but also showcased his versatility by putting in a tireless shift as a full-back on the right flank. His impactful performance at both ends of the pitch highlighted his adaptability, especially considering his usual midfield role in most of Punjab FC's games this season.

He said, “Abhishek (Singh) is one of the youngsters in the team who is working a lot. He (Singh) loves football very much. We try to help him. He has shown a lot of patience because (Seilenthang) Lotjem who plays in his position is doing well also. But now, I feel very confident to put him in the game, I am not afraid. He has taken all the concepts of a complete full-back player.”

Punjab FC secured their second victory of the season, both triumphs unfolding on their home turf. The earlier win was against Chennaiyin FC. Notably, this marks the first instance in the current season where the Shers bounced back from a goal deficit to clinch three points. Vergetis, discussing his psychological approach with the players, anticipates that this comeback victory will serve as a morale boost for the team.

“It's very positive (getting a victory) in the factor of the psychology of our players. We tried to keep (them positive for) some good time without winning games, keep the players in a good mood and good psychology, it is not easy. Every day on the field, in the training, they have to work hard and run. We press them, we push them for so many hours, video analysis and all others the things that is doing one professional player (a help) every day," he said.

"But the victory is that gives them the best motivation to do all of this. And this is for me, the best, for the psychology of my players,” he shared.

Vergetis’ men travel to face Kerala Blasters FC for their next challenge on February 12, 2024. The 47-year-old wrapped up sharing his outlook towards the upcoming fixture. 

We need to improve many things. We must keep on working because there are no easy games. We have to face Kerala (Blasters FC) now. Very difficult game, but we have to keep on working hard. Everybody has to be professional, has to work hard. Player, coach everybody,” concluded Vergetis.