After three consecutive defeats in the Indian Super League (ISL), a first for Bengaluru FC, the Blues and Carles Cuadrat decided to part ways mutually on Wednesday evening.
The news was surprising, given that the Spaniard not only led them to the 2018-19 Indian Super League (ISL) title but also finished on top at the end of the league stage, the only coach to do so till now.
He had also guided the club to a play-off spot in the 2019-20 season. After serving as an assistant to Albert Roca for a major part of the 2017-18 season, he came back and took over after Roca left post conclusion of that season.
Set-pieces were one of Bengaluru's potent weapons in recent times and it is an open secret that it was Cuadrat who masterminded those moves even when Roca was in charge.
During his stint, the West Block Blues (BFC's fan group) have rejoiced on many a floodlit night at the Kanteerava and even during their sojourns away from home.
We try to bring to you the top five instances when Bengaluru stamped their supremacy over their opponents under Cuadrat.
1. Pune City 0-3 Bengaluru FC (October 22, 2018)
It was just his third match in charge but the Blues put up a performance that he would remember for a long time. A goal blitz of two minutes and Pune City were brought to their knees. In the 41st and 43rd minute, Sunil Chhetri struck twice, getting the better of Sarthak Golui on both occasions to leave the Stallions out of ideas. Cuadrat used Dimas Delgado intelligently between the lines and the midfield metronome kept Bengaluru ticking with his top-notch ball distribution skills. In the second half, Cuadrat's men continued their domination and Miku scored the third to heap more misery on the hosts.
2. Bengaluru FC 3-0 FC Goa (February 21, 2019)
It was a top-of-the-table clash and a fixture promised everything that a neutral fan smacks his lips at. The match started on an even keel and the two sides could not be separated at half-time.
Meanwhile, Nishu Kumar was red-carded and Bengaluru were down to 10-men. At half-time, Cuadrat changed his tactics and shifted from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-1 with only Miku upfront. And five minutes into the second half, the Blues broke the deadlock from a set-piece routine straight from the training ground. In the absence of Erik Paartalu, Cuadrat deployed Delgado in a deeper position to break Goa's attacks and initiate the counter. The ploy worked perfectly and Udanta Singh and Miku added two more goals to leave Goa out of their wits in spite of playing with 11.
3. Bengaluru FC 3-0 NorthEast United (March 11, 2019)
It was the second leg of the semi-final and Bengaluru were trailing by two goals to one. The Bengaluru faithful were demanding a response and Cuadrat's men delivered. The hosts came out all guns blazing but a resilient NorthEast were holding fort with grit and determination. Cuadrat felt it was time to go all out and introduced Luisma sacrificing Juanan. Within the next five minutes, Bengaluru broke the deadlock and were on the driver's seat courtesy of their away goal.
The Highlanders looked heart-broken and Cuadrat's rampaging men added two more in the dying minutes of the game to march their way into the final.
4. Bengaluru 1-0 FC Goa (ISL Final, March 17, 2019)
The stage was set for the biggest night in ISL and Goa were gunning for revenge. The Gaurs had possession, whereas Bengaluru were patient to maintain their shape and composure. In spite of not seeing much of the ball, the former JSW-owned team were chiselling out their chances but were being thwarted by Goa's defence. Miku was getting into promising positions but it seemed that he had left his scoring boots at the dressing room. But in the 105th minute, Ahmed Jahouh was shown the second yellow and Cuadrat made sure that his team made the most of this opportunity. He brought in fresh legs and started testing Goa's defence. In the 117th minute, the Orange resistance wore off and Rahul Bheke's majestical header sealed the deal for Bengaluru.
5. Bengaluru 4-2 Kerala Blasters (December 13, 2020)
It has been a feisty affair whenever these two teams met in the past and their latest encounter in this season of ISL has been on the same lines. Rahul KP opened the scoring for Blasters, against the run of play but Cleiton Silva responded with an equaliser within 12 minutes.
In a two-pronged attack, Cuadrat added Silva along with Kristian Opseth, which worked wonders for his team. He deployed Ashique as an overlapping left-wing back which ensured that they always have enough bodies in attack. In the second half, they started strongly once again and within six minutes of the resumption, they took the lead through Paartalu. Dimas added soon after to dash Kerala's hopes of a comeback. Although the Tuskers did pull one back Chhetri scored the fourth to cap a resounding 4-2 win.