Adrian Luna scored both goals for Kerala Blasters in the 2-2 stalemate.

Kerala Blasters’ hopes of ending their duck against ATK Mohun Bagan’s fell short after they were held to a 2-2 draw with Joni Kauko scoring a stoppage-time equaliser. With this, they remain fourth in the standings. Both sides are certainly still in contention for the playoffs. However, for Ivan Vukomanovic’s men, it would need consistent wins henceforth.

Adrian Luna twice put the Blasters ahead with two stunning strikes, but on both occasions, ATK Mohun Bagan roared back, the last coming with seconds remaining. After the game, Kerala Blasters head coach Ivan Vukomanovic spoke at the post-match press conference.

So Close to a Win Yet Leaving With One Point

First up, he shared his thoughts on almost becoming the side to end ATK Mohun Bagan’s long unbeaten run. He expressed, “Well, we were not busy with those statistics because we don’t care about them. We wanted to be well-focused and organized on things that we wanted to achieve tonight. I think we should be very happy with the things that we showed tonight, especially the chances that we had in the second half, where we could’ve killed the game.

“I was very happy with the boys for playing this kind of a game against them and showing this mentality and passion on the pitch. In the end, we are sorry that we didn’t score more goals because we did have many chances at the end. As a coach, what I want to try and stay doing is to not get frustrated. Even if there are poor decisions sometimes, I want to stay positive.”

Adrian Luna’s Performance

Next, Ivan Vukomanovic was asked about Adrian Luna‘s performance, both in this game as well as the season as a whole. Delightedly replying to this, he stated, “We knew when we started this project that we needed certain profiles for our team and Adrian was one of the first signings that way. We are very happy with him as a player as well as a personality in the dressing room.

“With his mentality, he shows the right example and at the right moment — fighting for every inch of the field. When many other players follow that, you become strong as a unit. Further, when you have more players like Adrian, you have a team that’s hard to beat. We want to continue being this.”

Dropping Points

Further, when questioned if dropping two points affected his aim of reaching the semi-finals, he chuckled, “There are many other direct duels and other games (for other teams). We have our four to play to get points from. Without even taking care of other circumstances, we have to manage our moments and play our games to get to the top four.

“So, whatever happens, I think since we started this season we took a huge step forward considering our position previously. The millions of fans who follow us deserve to be happy and proud of us.”

Jorge Pereyra Diaz’s Red Card

Lastly, Ivan Vukomanovic spoke about Jorge Diaz‘s sending off following a tussle with the opposition bench in the final minutes of the match. Diaz, who had already been substituted off, saw a red card following a heated argument with the ATK Mohun Bagan bench after their late equaliser.

Concluding the press conference with this answer, he opined, “During these types of games, there are so many things and there’s adrenaline and emotions. Sometimes, there are things that just explode.

“As a player, they were affected and frustrated by many decisions tonight. It’s not about referees. These players are giving it their all and doing their best. But sometimes, some decisions provoke emotions and the kind of reactions players show. Although these kinds of things are avoidable, they do happen. That’s football. I’m sorry that we won’t have him for the next game because he’s an important player of our squad but we’ll continue.”

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