The southern derby on Wednesday night proved to be one of the highlights of the season.
A thrilling game unfolded between fierce rivals Kerala Blasters and Bengaluru FC, as the two southern sides played out an entertaining draw. The game saw the Blasters to take the lead in the first half through Slavisa Stojanovic and Courage Pekuson’s strikes, before Bengaluru took the game by storm in the second half. Udanta Singh and Sunil Chhetri assisted each other to make sure that the home fans had something to cheer for after the final whistle.
Kerala Blasters head coach, Nelo Vingada was positive about the performance put up by his side. “These kind of games are the games the ISL needs. Strong intensity. Good chances for both the teams. Our first half was amazing. At the end of the first half, we missed a chance to kill the game off, to make it 3-0,” Vingada stated.
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Watch: Bengaluru FC 2-2 Kerala Blasters highlights
The former NorthEast United boss was particularly satisfied with the fact that his team were able to contain Bengaluru in the first half. “Today, we could reproduce some of the situations from the training sessions. To be honest, I was impressed with the performance of my team in the first 45 minutes. We controlled all aspects. They didn’t reach any situation critical for us in the first 45 minutes,” he explained.
He also justified the dip in the second half. “The second half was not because of my team coming down, it was because they came up. They pressed us a lot more. Also, we played with a lot of young players, who played their first minutes,” he quipped.
“I wish and I hope to see more Indian players play in the Indian Super League,” Vingada asserted.
“We have to keep this attitude because the team has quality. I believe the quality is better than what the results are showing. We have to learn with these performances. We have to find this game as a good example for the coming games,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, the hosts’ head coach Carles Cuadrat felt his side had been pushed down due to circumstances. “It has been a season with a lot of little things happening. One of those little things was that Luisma (Villa), after first training has developed a lumbar problem. So, we didn’t want to force him,” he said.
“During the week, Xisco (Hernandez) and Rahul (Bheke) haven’t been training for different circumstances. We decided to try with this team. We knew that we would have a lot of risks,” he explained.
Kerala Blasters’ physical approach created problems for the home side. “We tried to have the ball because we know that they are physical. But, it was not happening in the first half,” Cuadrat said.
“But, in the second half, when we put more talented players on the pitch, it was completely our game. I was very happy that we were trying to build-up, not getting crazy, trying to get to the back of the defenders of the other team,” the Spaniard stated.
The Blues’ boss was disappointed with the refereeing and expects them to keep the game cleaner. “For me, it is very clear. We have to protect the game. When you see, a lot of risky situations and there is no punishment,” he told the press.
“They almost killed Sunil (Chhetri) with an incredible tackle, no yellow card. In Mumbai, the same happens, No yellow card. We have to protect the talent. I think everybody in the country will be very sad if we miss Sunil for a very long time,” he concluded.