The southerners’ failure to convert their chances haunted them against the Australians.
Kerala Blasters succumbed to a humiliating 0-6 defeat to Melbourne City FC in the first match of the Toyota Yaris La Liga World pre-season tournament. Five different scorers were on the score-sheet for the Australian side, who put in an absolute clinic to floor the unfit and inexperienced Blasters. So, let’s take a look at the talking points from this much anticipated pre-season bout.
5. Lack of pre-season training
The fact that Kerala Blasters- who are regarded as such a strong defensive unit- even conceded six goals was shocking to see and signs of the lack of fitness was quite visible in their game. Unlike other teams, Blasters had started their pre-season training very late, only 10 before the start of the pre-season tournament
The lack of training was on show with the players looking exhausted early in the game and not being able to compete in terms of energy with Melbourne.
4. Too many players playing out of position hurt the Blasters
David James decided to experiment with his formation against Melbourne City, something which proved to be a horrible decision and resulted in the humbling. Sandesh Jhingan, who earned his reputation as a solid central defender, was made to play in the right-back position with his partner Nemanja Lakic-Pesic playing as a left-back for quite a while.
This hurt the core of the team, with both Jhingan and Lakic-Pesic being outdone on the wings by the pacy wingers of Melbourne. Kerala need to stop playing their players out of position in the future and if Tuesday’s humiliation proved anything, it was that these experimentations will not work.
3. Kerala Blasters badly need quality strikers
Despite the harrowing defeat, Kerala Blasters did create a few opportunities in the game, which went begging because of the poor finishing skills of Matej Poplatnik and Seiminlen Doungel. While the Indian striker might be someone who loves playing a bit deeper, it seems like the Blasters are really lacking a prolific goalscorer in their team.
Just like last season, when forward Dimitar Berbatov was forced to move into midfield because of his lack of goals, it seems like the Blasters have not solved their striker crisis. Kerala really need to get strikers who can actually score goals for them, as hanging on to the current ones will result in a similarly frustrating season like the last one.
2. Dheeraj needs to learn how to handle pressure
Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem made his debut for Kerala Blasters against Melbourne City, but it was not at all memorable for him as he conceded six goals to the Australian side. While Dheeraj definitely showed signs of his brilliance with some superb saves, he was overcome by the intense pressure which Melbourne put Kerala under.
Despite making saves, the shot-stopper seemed to crumble after the half hour mark and became a bit clumsy by conceding some of the goals as well. He needs to learn how to handle intense pressure before thriving for the Blasters.
1. Melbourne City were on a different level
While Kerala Blasters looked unfit and under-trained, the same can’t be said for Melbourne City who were delighted to run circles around the Blasters in their own backyard. While they started rather slowly, Melbourne took full advantage of the tired legs for Kerala and their lack of cohesion.
They looked a team who were almost playing at the top of their game, with their high fitness and chemistry flooring the Blasters. The Australians played as a perfect unit and quite effortlessly scored so many goals against the hosts, with this victory giving them a lot of momentum heading into the much-anticipated bout against Girona.