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Ishfaq Ahmed says Kerala Blasters paid the price for errors against quality strikers | ISL 2019-20

Modified 01 Feb 2020, 23:47 IST

Ishfaq Ahmed (Image: ISL)
Ishfaq Ahmed (Image: ISL)

Kerala Blasters were undone by a 3-6 scoreline in favor of Chennaiyin FC in a nine-goal thriller at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi. Rafael Crivellaro and Nerijus Valskis got on the scoresheet in six minutes in the first half and Lallianzuala Chhangte and Valskis doubled the lead in the latter half.

Blasters' reply through Bartholomew Ogbeche's hat-trick went in vain as all of the visitors' front three found the back of the net twice.

Speaking on their seventh Indian Super League defeat of the season, Kerala Blasters assistant managed Ishfaq Ahmed said,

"There were so many defensive errors. Some costly errors. When you make such errors against quality strikers, you will pay the price and we did. In the second half, we started really well and I am glad the boys actually responded."

Three of the goals conceded by the hosts were chances on offer from the backline. TP Rehenesh looked shady on most occasions and was culpable for the opening goal, a blunder pass to Valskis in front of goal. Ishfaq was in support of the custodian and wished the 26-year-old remains mentally strong.

"He has playing for the last 10 years. These are the moments when you have to pick yourself. He knows that he has made some mistakes and mistakes happen. How strongly you can come back makes the difference between some players who lose confidence forever. I hope he is mentally strong. What happened has happened."

Kerala Blasters were well known for their magnificient crowd numbers in the initial days. Even this season, the fans were in support at the stadium for the first few matches. However, continuous disappointing results have forced the supporters away from the JLN Stadium. Ishfaq had a word on the worrying drop in numbers at the stadium and thanked the faithful for their backing through hard times.

"First of all, I appreciate the 9000 fans out there. Some of the teams don’t get that kind of crowd also. Manjappada stand behind you always and have really loved. Whatever results are coming, they are still coming and appreciating the team."

The Kochi-based club have been struggling with injuries right from the pre-season and the assistant coach cited that as unfortunate.

"We have been unfortunate with injuries. I’m not taking that as an excuse. It can happen. But it happened at wrong times for us and still we are missing couple of important players for this match. But, nothing taking away from Chennaiyin, they capitalized on whatever chances they got."

The former Kerala Blasters midfielder signed off by clarifying his pre-match press conference statement on the 'ordinary football' played by the top three teams. Ishfaq said he meant only certain times and added they won points out of those games.

"All the top three teams, they played ordinary football at times. But still, they managed to get three points in those games. And that makes sometimes a huge difference between the teams."
Published 01 Feb 2020, 23:47 IST
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