The Englishman felt the referee got the major calls in the match right…

Kerala Blasters FC head coach Steve Coppell was delighted following his team’s 2-1 win against FC Goa at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Tuesday evening. With their third win this season, the Blasters have moved up to fourth in the standings. The encounter also turned out to be a heated one as two Goan players – Gregory Arnolin and Richarlyson – were sent off.

FC Goa head coach Zico lambasted the referee in his press conference after the match and when Coppell was asked to assess the performance of the referee, he begged to differ from his Brazilian counterpart. “Well, I think everyone just gets wrapped up in the emotion of the game and obviously I was concentrating on us to score a goal. I am sure the ISL will look into this as I would in the cold light of day and make a judgement. But you cannot just go and give a yellow card as someone tackles somebody, and the penalty was a penalty as it was a hand ball and the second red card… he [Richarlyson] had a yellow before so no complaints there.

“And the referee, he is from New Zealand and it means nothing to him other than to do the best job that he can do, he is impartial and I am sure the ISL will look into it and I will be glad to look at their conclusions, and obviously I am going to say the referee was strong in what was a very hostile atmosphere and the influence all along was a negative influence on him…The fact we won 2-1, so I am delighted and I want to say that the referee didn’t win the game but our players won the game,” Coppell told reporters after the game.

For Goa, Kervens Belfort and CK Vineeth, who returned from AFC Cup participation and played his first game today, scored in the second half. In the pre-match press conference, Coppell had said it was unlikely that he will have both Vineeth and Rino Anto in the matchday squad as they had played the AFC Cup final only on Saturday. When asked what changed his mind as regards bringing Vineeth on, the Englishman said: “What changed my mind was the psychological effect it had with Rino and Vineeth coming in, just something a little bit different. First time I met them was this afternoon and the impact with two new players coming in the squad and we all watched them play for Bengaluru FC and I appreciate them playing and then travelling, travelling a lot, and you know emotionally the final would have been difficult for them but having them in the dressing room, and as the game progressed I decided that it would be great to get him [Vineeth] on for his energy and I think he had doubts about his own fitness but I knew he would be fine.”

Kerala next host defending champions Chennaiyin FC on Saturday later this week. The first encounter between them this season had ended in a draw. Coppell was of the opinion that his team will have to show this kind of form against Marco Materazzi’s men too if they want to get their semis hopes up. “Today’s win means nothing if we don’t back it up against Chennaiyin. It is a real good game as they are the champions and I am excited as we welcome them, and a couple a week ago we played them and I feel it is great to judge ourselves by the way we play against the champions. We are really looking forward to that game as it is hugely significant for us and we want to win to make our fans happy and you know we have not given them much stuff to smile about but today they go home happy, looking forward to the next game against Chennaiyin,” Coppell said.

Report and Photo © ISL Media