The coach said his team had a few injury concerns in the draw against Atletico de Kolkata…

Kerala Blasters FC would rue missing their best chances to reach the knockout stage for the second time in three years, as the South Indian team were held to a 1-1 draw against Atletico de Kolkata. The team has had an on-off season, with the arrival of CK Vineeth propelling them to victory on a number of occasions.

Against ATK at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium, Kolkata, the Bengaluru FC man was once again the goalscorer for Steve Coppell’s men. With Cedric Hengbart providing him with a delightful ball in the 8th minute, the striker did not make any mistake in guiding the ball into an empty net.

Kerala still have a lot of chances to qualify for the knockout stages. If Delhi Dynamos FC defeat NorthEast United FC on Wednesday, Kerala would go through. If this result doesn’t goes their way, the finalists of first season would need just one point in their last league encounter against the Highlanders in their last league game on Sunday.

Speaking to the media after the match, Coppell said: “Anybody who has seen Kolkata this season knows that they are very dangerous on counter-attacks and I think in the second half my goalkeeper did not have much to do and the same goes for their goalkeeper. I think towards the end both teams thought a point was not a bad idea, and in the end it was like watching a waltz. Against Mumbai when we went all out to attack [and lost 5-0], we learnt a bit of a lesson and we have got respect for our opposition as they have a terrific attack with good players like Hume, Postiga, Javi Lara and Doutie and they could really hurt us. All and all, I think our performance ticked all the boxes and to come here and get a point irrespective of what effect it has on the league, I am reasonably happy.”

When asked he thought 19 points would be enough to reach the semis, the Englishman said: “I think I will find out tomorrow (laughs). One thing I have found out from this competition and from football is that you cannot depend on anybody else but yourself, so whatever happens [tomorrow], we will try and win the next game.”

Playing a defensive game, the coach said the team had a few injury concerns. Coppell said, “We had a couple of injury problems today and the way we had decided to play originally was not the way we ended up playing. We had a few injury problems in the morning today and we had to change things around in the last minute and we did okay, and you know our shape was a bit lopsided, but again looking at the way Kolkata played, we had an extra man in midfield just to try and cramp the areas for Postiga as he himself can change the game and we managed to do that successfully. ”

If the Dynamos defeat NorthEast United on Wednesday, Kerala Blasters FC would become the fourth and last side to qualify for the knockout stages in the third season of the Indian Super League.

Photo © ISL Media

Report by Khel Now Correspondent Kushankur Rony Rakshit. Sports passionate and content writer. He is big football and cricket fan.