Kerala Blasters endured their seventh draw of the 2020-21 season in the Indian Super League (ISL) as they shared the spoils with Odisha FC in a 2-2 draw at the Fatorda Stadium in Margao, Goa. They have climbed one place in the points table to sit at the ninth spot, with 16 points from 17 matches.
Diego Mauricio gave Odisha FC the lead on the stroke of half-time. The Brazilian bundled his shot into the back of the net, wriggling between two Kerala Blasters defenders.
Kerala Blasters scored two goals after the change of sides through Jordan Murray (52') and Gary Hooper (68') to take the lead. However, the joy was short-lived as Diego Mauricio restored parity five minutes later.
When asked if he would have been happy with the final scoreline at half-time, Kerala Blasters coach Kibu Vicuna replied:
"No, we wanted to win the match and get the (three) points. We were a much better team in both the halves, first and second. We had too many chances but we scored only two goals. The opponent didn't have too many chances, but they scored two goals. It is difficult to understand. It is difficult to explain. It is difficult to digest. For me, it is unbelievable that we didn't win tonight."
Kerala Blasters have conceded seven goals in their last three ISL matches. They had the lead at some point in time in all the matches but ended up either drawing or losing the game.
"I am satisfied with the way we played. We played offensive football. We are creating too many chances. But, perhaps we have to look at the balance. We are conceding too much. It is not good to concede two goals in every game.
"In terms of scoring goals, we are good. We are creating chances. We are in the opponent half (mostly). We had better chances and better possession of the ball. Even the attitude of the team was well. We deserved to win tonight in my opinion," Vicuna further added.
Jeakson Singh can play in both center-back and holding midfielder position: Kerala Blasters coach Kibu Vicuna
Jeakson Singh failed to check Diego Mauricio's run twice, and the Brazilian punished Kerala Blasters by scoring a brace past them. Kibu Vicuna, however, defended Jeakson.
"He is a player that can play in both positions (centre back and holding midfielder) very well. To play in a new position, you need time. You need to play more matches and understand the job. He can do well. He is a very good defensive midfielder," Vicuna said.
Before the match, Kibu Vicuna said Kerala Blasters will be targeting twelve points in their next four matches. Although that is no longer possible after the draw with Odisha FC, he remains upbeat about extracting the best out of his team.
"We are targeting nine points now. We have to keep going. We have to finish the league in the best possible position. We are playing for the fans. We are playing for the club. We are playing for ourselves. We are also playing for our pride.
"We have to keep going and focus in every game. We have to give our best in every game, first against Hyderabad FC, then against Chennaiyin FC, and then in the last match against Northeast United," Vicuna signed off.