Kerala Blasters' winless streak in the 2020-21 season of the Indian Super League (ISL) came to an end on Sunday as they defeated Hyderabad FC 2-0 at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim. Abdul Hakku and Jordan Murray scored the all-important goals for them in the 29th and 88th minutes of the match, respectively.
Kerala Blasters' coach Kibu Vicuna took everyone by surprise by making a string of changes. Three regular foreign players, namely Costa Nhamoinesu, Bakary Kone, and Gary Hooper, didn't even feature in the matchday squad. The Indian duo of Abdul Hakku and Sandeep Singh got the opportunity to start at the heart of the defense while Jordan Murray led the attacking line upfront.
Heaping praises on their performance, Kibu Vicuna said:
"They (Hooper, Kone & Nhamoinesu) have some different injuries and they were not ready to play tonight. But the players that replaced them tonight - Sandeep (Singh), (Abdul) Hakku, and Jordan (Murray) were fantastic with their performance.
"Hakku and Sandeep are a part of the team and were important while training. I am happy with their performance because both are good professionals and they took advantage of the chances they had tonight."
Jeakson Singh wants to improve: Kerala Blasters coach Kibu Vicuna
Jeakson Singh was the standout performer for Kerala Blasters. The 19-year-old was deployed as a defensive midfielder and didn't allow Hyderabad FC players space to penetrate through the center. His performance was lauded by Kibu Vicuna.
"Jeakson (Singh) is a player with a lot of potential and good qualities. And, most importantly, he wants to improve. He wants to be a better player and a better person. You can help these players every time. I am happy because tonight he had a fantastic performance."
In ISL 2020-21, Kerala Blasters have conceded eight of their eleven goals in the second half, prior to this match. However, Kibu Vicuna's side didn't let their guard down and kept the clean sheet in this match.
"(The message was) to score the second goal. In the half-time, we talked some tactical issues about the opponent and what to do. Hyderabad has some good strikers with Aridane (Santana) and (Fran) Sandaza. At the beginning of second half, we had two good chances from Jordan and Sahal. We didn't score (from them) but at the end of the match we scored and deserved the win," Kibu Vicuna concluded.Published 28 Dec 2020, 13:39 IST