After a disappointing start to the latest Indian Super League campaign, Kerala Blasters fans finally had something to cheer about after their side opened their account with a goalless draw against Delhi Dynamos in front of 50000 plus supporters. The match could have ended in Blasters’ favour had they made full use of their opportunities but the lack of quality in front of goal saw them settle for a draw.
In a match where neither of the goalkeepers were called into action, the only real chance in the match fell to Kerala, when Michael Chopra found a way to get past the defenders but his shot on goal was well saved by Dynamos goalkeeper Antonio Doblas Santana.
Coach, Steve Coppell, was asked whether he was satisfied with his team’s performance and also about his thoughts on the match, to which he replied, “We kept the ball a lot better. We tried to be progressive from the back. Delhi plays with a sitting midfielder and it’s hard to break them down. But I thought we didn’t over-commit ourselves.”
“Michael had a couple of chances and we had several crossing opportunities. I was pleased with our discipline and commitment. I hope that we get goals soon to make our incredible supporters happy. They were magnificent,” he went on to add.
Coppell also felt that despite being competitive, it would ultimately be a moment of magic which sealed the game, “We were competitive. Most games between two tight oppositions are decided in a moment of inspiration, a defensive mistake or a refereeing decision. We needed a bit of magic but it didn’t happen.”
When questioned about the role of Antonio German in the team, Coppell said, “We have positions but it doesn’t mean one person has to play in a certain position. If you are a defender, at one moment you are playing against German, next minute you are playing Rafique and then probably Belfort. The team just needs to understand our shape.”
Questions were asked about the inability of the team to find the back of the net in the competition to which he fired back, “All we can do is work hard and keep practising in training. Sometimes, if you watch our training sessions, you would be amazed at the level of finishing and shooting.”
“I am not turning a blind eye to the problem. But I believe goals will come. My players are so genuine and I feel they will get their reward shortly. Today we opened our account. Next game, we need to push on,” he added.
To the question on whether the players were going down easily in the box to win penalties, the coach was quick to react, “No. It’s just an in the moment thing. If you are in a shooting position, why dive? I think tonight, Chopra got crowded out and there was initial contact. But he was honest and went forward a little bit more. No way we are trying to win penalties. He tried to score a goal but it was not intentional.”
Coppell also threw light on Cedric Hengbart’s situation. “He had an injury during the first half after a collision. But he is a warrior and still stayed out until the second half and worked hard for us. But the longer the game went, he got hampered by the injury. Once he picked up a booking, we had to replace him. Cedric has a groin injury. We have a great medical staff and we will have an assessment tomorrow.”
The manager also stated that star defender Aaron Hughes was still with the Northern Ireland team and that he would be flying back to India on Wednesday.
Kerala Blasters will take on Mumbai City FC in their next fixture.
More Indian Football news, transfer rumours, analysis and features at Sportskeeda.com