Cuadrat backs Onwu to deliver

Last Updated 26 October 2019, 18:24 IST

NorthEast United FC were more than a match for defending champions Bengaluru FC in their goalless draw at Sree Kanteerava Stadium here. The Blues, without central defender Albert Serran and defensive midfielder Erik Paartalu, had a tough time dealing with the impressive Asamoah Gyan, who was devastating upfront. The Ghanaian had rattled the bar once and even put one in after shrugging off three defenders. The goal though was ruled offside.

What’s even more troubling for BFC was their strikers’ failure to convert a number of chances. Of the 10 shots attempted at the NEUFC goal, only two were on target, highlighted by winger Udanta Singh’s shocking miss from less than 10 yards.

Newcomer Manuel Onwu, who has come in as a replacement for Miku, too, had failed to make an impression. In the 90 minutes on the pitch, the Spanish forward took just 18 touches and had zero shots on target.

Their midfield, however, showed promise, with new signing Raphael Augusto at the centre of all good things that BFC did. The Brazilian created two brilliant chances and developed a solid understanding with Spaniard Dimas Delgado.

It’s still early in the season to come to any conclusion but losing momentum is never a good sign and BFC coach Carles Cuadrat, though ‘not worried’, is aware of the situation. On Monday, they will face the last season’s runners-up FC Goa on road, who began their quest with a thumping 3-0 win over Chennaiyin FC. “I think, points are obviously important but we are not in that dramatic moment now,” said Cuadrat at the pre-match conference here on Saturday.

“I think both teams can make a nice game and try to give a nice show for the supporters. We know Goa is always a demanding visit because they have a wonderful team. I am hoping for an interesting game. Until now I am not worried about the situation, we have been working in a system with a lot of different things and I think we can manage the situation and create chances with or without Miku,” the BFC coach said.

Cuadrat defended Manuel, saying, the Spanish forward is still getting the hang of things. “There is a lot of work sometimes that is not very easy to watch for the supporters but it is happening. Sometimes it is to bring the central defenders far away from the midfield. Those kinds of things were happening.

“Of course, it is a new league for him, new team-mates, but we have to support him because he is one of our important foreign players. He is just getting used to the competition. During the training, he was our top scorer. He’s working and trying to do the best for the team,” he added.

Delgado, too, came to Manuel’s defence. “He has come in with a lot of hunger to score goals and we are here to help him. He will give us a lot of things because he has got good skills that he can put on in the team. Yes, we are not worried about one player. We as a group are a powerful team. We will keep working in our things and try to be better every day,” he said.

(Published 26 October 2019, 17:46 IST)

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