The assistant coach of Kerala Blasters spoke to reporters post his side’s draw against the Gaurs.

Kerala Blasters were pegged back in their quest for three points, as a late Lenny Rodrigues equalizer played spoilsport in the party at Kochi, with both teams left to settle for a point. The Blasters’ assistant coach Ishfaq Ahmed spoke to the media after the match.

The home team started brilliantly, when Sergio Cidoncha opened the scoring in the second minute itself. Messi Bouli put the Blasters in the lead again, after Mourtada Fall had equalized and was also sent off in the second half.

Things seemed to be moving towards a first win for Kerala since the opening day, but Rodrigues broke the home team’s hearts and left them short of their mark.

The disappointment at the result was echoed by assistant coach Ishfaq Ahmed, who expressed his dismay and attributed the reason to the players’ fatigue citing, “There are many reasons when you concede late. It could be lack of concentration, the body is tired and people tend to do mistakes. We don’t have to blame anyone. That’s football. When you take one step, the opponents take two.”

Despite having reduced Goa to 10 men, Kerala were pegged back and that is bound to leave a bitter taste in the mouth for Eelco Schattorie and his men, which Ahmed reiterated saying, “We controlled the game for most parts and they also were down to 10 men. But, in that situation, you have a team like Goa that has nothing to lose and our defensive change didn’t help us, as the player (Nediyodath) found it tough to adjust. All these small things add up too.”

Talking about the Men in Yellow’s stop-start form, the assistant coach stated, “I think winning 1-0 is not a bad thing, but we should not concede goals. Especially, the way we conceded the (late) goal, that is an area we have to improve on. We have to have maturity in those sort of situations.”

The coach though chose to look on the positive side of things saying, “We were the better team and we were better than a team like Goa, who like to dominate and we dominated the majority of the game. So, there are some positives to take out of the game, but we need to do better in those crucial circumstances.”

Raphael Messi Bouli was the hero for Kerala Blasters until that fateful moment at the end and was bittersweet in his reflection on the game saying, “Yes, I am happy to score my first goal, but it was not the result I wanted. I would rather score and win the match. We tried to give everything, but to get only one point is very difficult.”

Kerala Blasters remain in eighth place with five points and will look to break their winless run, when they travel to play Mumbai City FC on Thursday. Meanwhile, Goa will travel to Hyderabad to play the Nizams next Sunday.