Kerala Blasters FC slumped to their third consecutive away defeat after losing 1-0 to East Bengal FC at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Friday, February 4.
Despite some initial domination, the Blasters always looked a step behind the Red and Gold Brigade throughout the game, and eventually ended up conceding the winner in the 77th minute.
Cleiton Silva clattered the ball home after a blistering run from Naorem Mahesh Singh.
Kerala Blasters head coach Ivan Vukomanovic admitted that his players couldn't match the opposition in most areas and stated in the post-match press conference:
"When you face these kinds of teams, you must match the duels, you must match the fight, you must match the character, you must match the mentality. We created some chances. We had some moments because we knew before the game that the game would be really ugly with many duels, fights, or contacts. We should score in the chances we get because in these games you don't get many."
The gaffer, however, wasn't overly critical of his players and underlined that he intended to congratulate the Red and Gold Brigade and carry on with their knockout crusade.
"Our opponent scored one goal and they won the game. So that's it, we congratulate them and continue," Vukomanovic added.
"That is what my team looks like" - East Bengal gaffer Stephen Constantine after their hard-fought victory against Kerala Blasters FC
Meanwhile, East Bengal boss Stephen Constantine expectedly lauded the "gutsy" performance his boys put in against the third-placed side.
Despite playing with two makeshift centre-backs in Sarthak Golui and Charis Kyriakou, East Bengal managed to shut down the lethal Kerala Blasters attack.
“Tonight, they fought from the first (minute) till the last. We were compact, tackles were being made, players were helping each other. I thought it was a very gutsy performance, it was aggressive. That is what my team looks like," the English tactician stated.
Furthermore, before concluding the press conference, Constantine underlined that the club is preparing for the upcoming season and will be aiming for a top-six finish.