I didn't watch the penalties: Simon Grayson after Bengaluru FC win over Mumbai City FC
As delighted Bengaluru FC coach Simon Grayson was after his team's win to enter the final, he's not one to watch the penalty shootouts.
Bengaluru FC defeated Mumbai City FC on penalties in their semi-final second leg match to reach the final of the Indian Super League 2022-23 season. After an exciting 120 minutes of gameplay, what transpired was a dramatic penalty shootout to decide the tie. But, Bengaluru FC head coach Simon Grayson wouldn't know that.
"I think it was a great game, goalkeepers made some great saves. Ultimately, it came to the penalties where someone will be the hero and someone will be the villain. Fortunately for us, we came out on the right side. I'd like to believe there were a lot of good penalties. I don't watch penalties, and I didn't," Grayson said post the win.
There were indeed some great penalties taken as players from both sides were either sending the keepers the other way, or placing their kicks to perfection. This happened until Mumbai's Mehtab Singh, who was the hero during regulation time, became the villain during the penalty shootout.
Singh was the one to take his team's 9th penalty, but unfortunately missed. In the sudden death, Sandesh Jhingan stepped up and carried Bengaluru through to the final by converting his penalty. With the miss, Mehtab's fantastic goal in the 66th minute, which made the aggregate score 2-2, was undone. However, his coach Des Buckingham didn't think so.
"He's (Mehtab) one of the brightest young centre-backs who has grown both as a player and a person. I thought it was a good penalty, but somebody had to miss. He knows what I think about him and what the group thinks of him," a reassuring Des said post the loss.
Bengaluru FC have about five days to prepare for the ultimate game of the season, where they will face either of ATK Mohun Bagan or Hyderabad FC, and coach Grayson knows exactly what the team will do till then.
"We'll want to win the final. Tomorrow it's important to get the recovery session right, then train on Tuesday. We'll spend a couple of days in Goa, not on the beach where people usually go to," Simon joked.
Despite the semi-final, it's been a record-breaking season for Buckingham and his team. After their exit from the playoffs, the coach reflects on what has been a brilliant year for the club.
"I look back in the last 10-12 months, starting from the Champions Leauge, not only in terms of results but what we've done, the type of football we played, the Durand cup final. We thought we had enough to come here and win. We'll be back, starting with the Super Cup," he concluded.