Kerala Blast-us: ISL Updates
It was the PJN stadium, Fatorda as Mumbai, 1st in place were facing the Blasters, who were 8th. Mumbai were hoping to continue their kill streak while Vukomanovic’s KBFC wanted to get a win in life.
Analyzing the opponents-
- MCFC had their regular 4-2-3-1, with Vikram Pratap Singh starting instead of Raynier.
- Kerala Blasters, on the other hand played a 4-4-2, but pressing high. They had EXCELLENT players like Adrian Luna(LM), Argentine loanee Pereyra Diaz, and A. Vazquez. Diaz has played in Lanus and River Plate, while Alvaro Vazquez has scored versus Pep’s golden Barca who were at their zenith at that time. Vazquez has played under Pochettino in RCD Espanyol and scored in the Derbi Cataluni!
- Also, KBFC had 2 Minerva academy players, namely:
- Jeakson Singh, who scored India’s FIRST EVER goal in a FIFA World Cup, when we had hosted the 2017 U-17 World Cup.
- Ruivah Hormipam, a very competent defender!
- Both of these are EXTREMELY accomplished individuals. But Kerala also have a “son of their city” player like Rome has Totti. For them, it’s Sahal Abdul Samad, Indian Ozil! He can dribble, retain the ball, and provide pinpoint passes, hence his nickname!
- KBFC wasn’t to be underestimated!
- KBFC were pressing high from the get-go. Sahal and Apuia, two of India’s budding stars were battling for the ball.
- It was the 26th minute as Adrian Luna gave a through ball on the Left Wing to Diaz, who flicked the ball into the box, to give Sahal, who slammed a volley into the net! GOAAAL!
- It was the first time MCFC had conceded first in this ISL! Never before had we conceded before the opposition.
- We were trailing, as Cassio tried to give a ball to Igor; but Angulo was Ang-too-slow!(Sorry)
- And still Igor was trying as VP sent a cross but their keeper, who was doing a phenomenal job, by the way, deflected it just enough to prevent an Angulo Head in. Angulo even dived for a penalty before half time!
- After half-time, MCFC seemed shaken as they gave away possession as Jeaksin crossed the ball in for Vazquez to strike a volley, just teasing Nawaz’s fingertips! GOAAAL! 2-0 KBFC! It was a volley of volleys that night!
- MCFC were losing focus, committing fouls, and panicking. Yet they had hope. We’d never seen them so lost, when KBFC struck again, Diaz ran after a crisp through ball.
- Mourtada Fall did a foul. He went all in, at the edge of the box, slightly outside the D-line. Diaz was tackled horribly and Fall got a red as MCFC were 2 down. It was a penalty. Diaz decided to take it, paused, took the run up and SHOT at the bottom right corner. Nawaz wasn’t wrong in the direction but the ball was too fast. 3-0!
- Blasters were enjoying this one. Attacking, pressing high, missing, repeating!
- One man down, 3-0 down, and lacking momentum, MCFC seemed like they were going to get a beating like the one they’d given ATKMBFC.
- Des subbed out Ranawade for Valpuia, Mandar for Mehtab and Angulo for Ygor!
- MCFC kept trying. They got two corners with EXCELLENT ping-ins from Jahouh but they missed the giant Captain Mourtada Fall! They tried through balls, but Cassio was offside; They tried a through ball to Bipin but he missed. Jahouh was missing possession. Whatever could go wrong was going wrong here. It was like a break in form for Bipin, Jahouh, Fall, VP! Hence, I was happy as the bad luck was running out in this single game, which would’ve ended up as a less harmful loss if our luck had supported us.
- MCFC has scored 17 goals this season, almost double of KBFC’s 9 (6 before this game).
- VP Singh was substituted for Raynier, as Des wanted us to prevent further humiliation and also score one goal to save FC and make the loss less embarrassing.
- MCFC were REPEATEDLY battering on the doors of KBFC but to no avail. KBFC too weren’t defending low. Their players were pressing hard for 80 minutes of the game. Kudos to them for that.
- KBFC showed great spirit, physical endurance and tactical astuteness in this game. Coach Des also said that the game was tactically won by KBFC.
- This game showed us that we’re also human, and that luck doesn’t always sway on our side. All that could’ve gone, went wrong for us. We still threatened them though! Hence all we have to do is get back up and win the ‘Shield and Cup’ double like last year and play well in the AFC Champions League!
By Omkar Barve