The visitors Melbourne City FC were too strong for the host as the first match in Toyota Yaris La Liga World preseason tournament ended 6-0 in favour of the visitors. Melbourne City FC enjoyed the possession in most parts of the game. Kerala Blasters's captain Sandesh Jhingan who started at the right end of the defence had an off day as 6 goals went past the Indian U-17 goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh on his debut for Kerala Blasters. The new signing Reily McGree scored in both halves of the match for Melbourne City
After the match, Kerala Blasters manager David James said he had a mixed feeling about the result. James said, "Well played Melbourne City, even though we were expecting a tough opposition, 6-0 is a bad result." James added that a quality opposition can punish a team if they are not playing well. "They took advantage of a few opportunities that we gifted them at times," said the former Liverpool goalkeeper.
Three new additions to the Kerala Blasters team Slaviša Stojanović, Matej Poplatnik and Cyril Kali got the first taste of Indian football as all the three players started for Kerala Blasters. Both the attackers, Slaviša Stojanović and Matej Poplatnik failed to make much impact in the game while the defender Cyril Kali who started as left-back had a decent first half in the game. "It is their first game in India and having a bit of rain bit of heat and bit of cold it was tough for them because they are not used to it," said the Englishman.
"I am happy that our players were giving their best efforts up until the second half when we made changes," said James. He added: "As much as we want to win, it is a pre-season game, we want to protect our players from serious injuries. We also had one or two players who had to acclimatize to the conditions. We had some young players who had a real good go in the game, and some experienced players also showed some flashes of very good play. So it is a bit of a mixed feeling, the scoreline is not good."
David James said he has learned some good lessons ahead of new Indian Super League season by playing some quality oppositions. He added, "Even in ISL if you are not on top of your game you will get punished," David James stated that the players and staff will be working hard to bring their game to the level they are capable of.
On the players being played out of their natural position, James said the players are versatile and they are experimenting in the pre-season. The managers also said he won't be commenting on individual performances of players as it is only the first game in pre-season.
On their next match against Girona FC, David James said, "I would imagine Girona would be of a higher level, the opportunity to play Girona is magnificent regardless of the result." He also stated that Indian players should play against a bigger opposition to bring the best out of them.
Melbourne City FC coach Warren Joyce was happy with the facilities and the condition of ground at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Kochi. He was happy with the way his team played while adding that the team has more scope for improvement.Published 25 Jul 2018, 00:57 IST