The head coach of the Kochi outfit was disappointed with the result but satisfied with the performance of his players.

At the end of a very entertaining game between SC East Bengal and Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League (ISL), both teams shared a point each as the contest ended in a 1-1. It was the Yellow Army who took the lead in the 64th minute through Jordan Murray, while the Kolkata giants had to wait till the final minute of injury-time to get their equalizer. At full-time, Kibu Vicuna, the head coach of the Blasters was visibly disappointed at not having closed out the game.

He later shared his thoughts on the draw at the post-match press conference. “It (the result) is difficult to digest. This is a disappointing result because we almost had the three points and then we lost them,” he said.

SC East Bengal’s performance

“It’s true that East Bengal tried their best, but they still did not have many clear chances to score. In the last few minutes, they also had more of the ball, but could score only in the very last chance,” Kibu Vicuna said when asked about the opponents’ performance.

He further added, “We were looking for all three points against them and in the end we would not get them. I don’t think we played any better in the second half when compared to the first 45 minutes, as we had created good opportunities in both halves. Overall, I think we gave a good performance.”

Sahal Abdul Samad’s outing

The 23-year-old midfielder had a good outing on the pitch on Friday and was adjudged the ‘Hero of the Match. The tactician praised the player for his work.

“Sahal is a very important player for us. He is performing better and better each day. He is also working hard in training, so we are happy with him. We had a chat just before the game. Although I cannot reveal the tactical aspects of what I told him, it must have helped him do well on the pitch tonight,” he commented.

Watch: ISL 2020-21 | Kibu Vicuna post Match Press Conference | East Bengal Vs Kerala Blasters

Attacking strategy

Asked about playing both strikers (Gary Hooper and Jordan Murray) together, Kibu Vicuna replied that they had a specific attacking plan in mind, which also included Sahal and Facundo Pereyra. “Today, in our attack we had Sahal, Facundo and our two strikers Gary and Jordan. Apart from them we also had Jessel (Carneiro) and Nishu (Kumar) who played as offensive full-backs. Our plan was to use all our attacking options to create as many chances as possible,” he explained.

The plans, however, hit a speed bump when Jessel and Facundo had to be subbed off due to injuries. “I think everyone understood that Jessel had an injury. He could no longer continue on the pitch and that is why we took him off,” he revealed

Defensive performance

Despite conceding a late equalizer, the tactician was satisfied with the performance of his defence.

“Well, there are certain patches in our defence that need reworking. But, against a very good team in East Bengal, we performed well today. It is not easy to contain good, in-form players like Bright (Enobakhare), Anthony (Pilkington) and (Jacques) Maghoma. So, I am satisfied, but will continue to work harder with the team so that we become better,” the 48-year-old promised.

Jordan Murray’s showing

With six goals, Australian forward Jordan Murray has climbed to third place in the ISL Golden Boot race. Kibu Vicuna revealed that he was very happy with the 25-year-old’s display.

“It is important that our best players prove that they are in good form. Jordan has gone ahead and done that,” he said with a smile.

‘Underdogs’ tag

Going into the game, the Yellow Army were not regarded as the favourites to win against the Robbie Fowler-led side. Despite that, they, managed to take the lead and almost went on to take all three points.

Vicuna concluded the interaction by saying that the ‘underdogs’ tag has helped them work without pressure. “Yes, it has helped in many ways. Because of the lesser pressure, we are working harder and training well too. We hope to return to winning ways in the next game,” the coach signed off.

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