The Islanders scored the equalizer in the dying minutes of the game to earn their first point in the league.
Kerala Blasters FC failed to register back-to-back victories at the start of the 2018-19 season, as Pranjal Bhumij’s injury-time stunner for Mumbai City FC ensured the match ended 1-1 at Kochi, after Halicharan Narzary had given the hosts the lead in the first half. However, the result meant that the Blasters now occupy the top spot on the league standings on goal difference.
At the post-match press conference, David James, head coach of Kerala, shed light on the final result. The Englishman was visibly disappointed that his side could not grab all three points after leading the game for large parts. “First of all, the feeling is one of disappointment that we didn’t take three points. The quality of the strike has to be admired. As you can see in the second half, they had a lot of shots from distance. It is the sort of goal that heroes are made of. We controlled the game, but we were a bit scrappy in the second half. It cost us two points. But my players have to learn that they can’t switch off during the last stages of the match.”
Sahal Abdul Samad had another impressive outing for the Blasters and James was full of praise for this promising midfielder. “He’s wonderfully creative. He showed that in the first half against ATK. Today, he displayed little bits of skill which excited us. He showed a bit of fatigue because it was a tough game, but he is a wonderful prospect.”
From Mumbai City’s end, Jorge Costa was present to take questions from the media. The Portuguese coach was happy to come away from the match with a point, considering the little time they had to prepare for it. “One point is one point. We cannot forget that we had only 48 hours to recover. We created a lot of opportunities to score. It was a wonderful goal. I am happy with the players because they worked a lot.”
Talking about Bhumij, Costa admitted that he expected the youngster to make an impact when he was brought on to the pitch. “This is my job to take risks. The responsibility for the changes lies with me. I think I know what I am doing because I am with the players every day. I know his potential. He is a young player, but with confidence, he can help us a lot. I expected him to score, to be honest.”