Brazilian touch in Bengaluru’s quest for clutch

Bengaluru FC coach Carles Cuadrat (right) said it was a challenge for him to get Raphael Augusto to gel with the mechanics of the team. DH PHOTO/ BH Shivakumar

Raphael Augusto has a history with the Sree Kanteerava Stadium. A mixed one, at that.

It was at this stadium, on a balmy March evening two years ago, he curled in the third and killer goal for Chennaiyin FC to secure the Indian Super League title. 

He would return six months after that final, this time for the season opener. Chennaiyin, now the defending champions, succumbed to a thunderbolt from Miku. At the very ground where they held aloft the trophy, their season unraveled.

They say thrice is a charm and Augusto, when he enters the field for the third time, he will do so for Bengaluru FC, the team that stood across him in the previous two occasions.

After four years in Chennai, where he played 62 games and won two titles, the man Sunil Chhetri refers to as ‘superstar from Chennai, who troubled us for two years’, is up for a new challenge.

“It was a special moment in my career and a good moment for me to put himself in another condition,” said the 28-year-old, his new head coach Carles Cuadrat acting as the translator. “After four years in Chennai, you are the leader and one who does specific things. Here in the new situation, I have to push myself for new things. It was the right moment to make that step. I know it’s a competitive club and I want to try and belong and help keep winning the trophies.”

With six goals and six assists in his ISL career, his numbers are deceptive. The Brazilian, with his bagful of tricks and crowd pleasing skills, offers control to Cuadrat’s side, a deep breath amidst the frantic pace in the final third. But with Erik Paartalu, Dimas Delgado and the returning Eugeneson Lyngdoh battling for the midfield spots, it adds an interesting challenge.

“It’s a challenge for him to make an impact in the club but it’s a challenge also for me to put him in the mechanics of the team and try and get the best version of him,” Cuadrat says. “We are going to have to take a lot of decisions in the season and we will try to manage our best to be competitive and have all the players involved.”

“We work a lot with the ball so he is happy,” the Spanish coach adds with a smile.

Having utilised the extensive off-season to undergo surgery and fix a recurring issue with his patella in his knee, Augusto is keen to get back to the field.

“I  paid attention to BFC and their style. I have achieved in Chennai and (I want to) and leave a mark here in Bengaluru.” 

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