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ISL 2017-18: Ranko Popovic hopes FC Pune City's youngsters can emulate Sunil Chhetri in future

Bengaluru: After witnessing a scintillating performance by Sunil Chhetri, who scored a hat-trick for Bengaluru FC in the second-leg of their semi-final clash against FC Pune City, both teams' managers were in full praise of the talismanic skipper.

Bengaluru FC's coach Albert Roca said he had no words to describe Chhetri's tremendous performance as the striker time and again proved that he's class above rest.

FC Pune City coach Ranko Popovic wished his team had a player like Sunil Chhetri. Image Courtesy: ISL

FC Pune City coach Ranko Popovic wished his team had a player like Sunil Chhetri. Image Courtesy: ISL

"What can I say about Sunil Chhetri? There are no words to define him, he is an outstanding player," Roca said after the game.

"He's 33-34 but age doesn't matter. His mentality is strong and apart from an outstanding player, he's also a wonderful person," Roca added.

FC Pune City coach Ranko Popovic too couldn't hide his admiration for the Bengaluru skipper and suggested that Sunil Chhetri is the best player ever to play for India.

"Look, Sunil Chhetri is best ever player to play for India. Players like Chhetri know how to play big matches. He scored a hat-trick in an all-important game so congratulations to him," Popovic said.

Popovic also wanted a player of Chhetri's quality in the team. "Two years ago, our youngsters wouldn’t have thought they would play against Sunil Chhetri. Now they had the chance. They didn’t lose the chance despite us not winning. They can use the chance maybe next year and we can have someone like Sunil Chhetri in our team.’’

Bengaluru went into the second-leg with under pressure as they had failed to score an away goal in the previous leg. But once the match started, there was no hint of any pressure as they dominated the proceedings right from the start. Chhetri scored the first goal with a header from Udanta Singh's cross. His second was a penalty while he added the third late into the second-half.

Popovic though felt that the first two goals were a result of a silly errors.

"We tried our best to make it difficult for Bengaluru. The first two goals were our mistakes. In some games, we get the chance to fightback but today, it was bit too much for us. We tried to pull back things and that was a positive," Popovic said after the game.

Popovic also admired the atmosphere created by the Bengaluru fans and said that they deserve to win the title in front of their home fans on 17 March. Bengaluru's opponents for the final will be decided on Tuesday when Chennaiyin FC will take on FC Goa, with the aggregate tied at 1-1.

Updated Date: Mar 12, 2018 13:32 PM

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