Kerala Blasters ended their ISL season at home with a 2-1 victory over Bengaluru FC, courtesy a brace from Bartholomew Ogbeche. A free-kick goal just before half-time and a penalty in the second half settled things for the Kochi-based outfit who survived Deshorn Brown's early goal for the visitors.
Eelco Schattorie, the Blasters gaffer, had said he knew the opposition's weaknesses, in his pre-match press conference. When quizzed on whether he got his tactics right, the Dutchman said,
I played Bengaluru FC four times last season, one win and a draw. This year when we played there it was a bit even. Overall, I know where their weakness are. Bilal was not a type of goalkeeper who covers that space really well. It is not a criticism, it is a style. Unfortuately they scored like that. He recovered fantastically. The tactic was working in the end, the final ball was not always there. We forced them back.
Schattorie also admitted his satisfaction with the three points and was happy that the team created a lot of chances. Blasters had eight shots on target against Bengaluru's one. Speaking on the same, he said,
We created a lot of chances. Messi (Bouli) could score two times. Hali (Narzary) had a fantastic shot, Sahal had a fantastic shot. In the end, we are happy with three points.
The former NorthEast United coach also heaped praise on Gianni Zuiverloon, who was a makeshift defensive midfielder after Sergio Cidoncha was substituted injured. On Zuiverloon's display, he stated,
I had to take (Sergio) Cidoncha out. I put Zuiverloon in the midfield. I was not too happy with that in the first part. So I spoke to him in half-time. We recovered that well.
Much had been talked about last season's Emerging Player Award winner Sahal Abdul Samad's playing time under Eelco Schattorie. Against Bengaluru FC, the 22-year-old had one shot on target and created two chances with 26 completed passes. On being asked about the coach's decision to play him on the right-wing, Schattorie said,
It is a fantastic way at this level to get experience, on the wing, On the wing, you have more time, it gives you rhythm and time to get used to the physicality. I believe in him. But he is not from a professional football background. For him to learn that, to read that patterns, to understand the concepts, he needs time. I will do anything I can to help. He did a fantastic work today. He had one really good chance. I wish he scored.