ISL 2016: Kerala Blasters 1-0 Delhi Dynamos - 5 Talking Points
Kerala Blasters took the first step towards making an ISL final at home as Delhi Dynamos were beaten 1-0 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi. Kervens Belfort was the hero for Kerala as he danced past the Delhi defence before his shot deflected off Anas Edathodika and into the net, as Toni Doblas was beaten.
The second leg will be at an identically named stadium in the capital on Wednesday and Gianluca Zambrotta will be looking for much much more from his side, particularly the attacking players. For Steve Coppell, the message to his troops will be simple: more of the same. Kerala should, in truth, have scored at least a goal more as CK Vineeth floundered with a couple of glorious opportunities.
Here are some of the interesting points for discussion from the game.
#1 Kerala’s team selection
Steve Coppell sprung a surprise before kick-off as the reliable Graham Stack was replaced in goal by the veteran Sandip Nandy. Coppell made the change to accommodate Josu at left-back, taking the sixth foreigner’s slot. It was a rather puzzling change as in big games like this one, you would not want to break the team’s rhythm and Stack was building a very good understanding with his defenders.
That move backfired for Coppell as Josu had to be taken off just past the half-hour mark. The Spaniard was walking a tightrope after picking up an early booking. He made two further poor challenges and was lucky not to get a red card. Didier Kadio came on in the little Spaniard’s place.
That could have gone pear-shaped for Kerala as Kadio was up against Marcelinho, who has been on fire for Delhi all season Fortunately for Coppell and Kerala, Marcelinho was off his game and did not do any damage.
On another day, Coppell might well have lived to regret his decision.