The middle of the park was evidently invisible in both their games for the southerners.
Kerala Blasters suffered another disappointing loss in the Toyota Yaris La Liga World with a crushing 0-5 loss to Spanish side Girona in the final game of the tournament. Girona were crowned champions of the pre-season event at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi and were awarded a magnificent trophy as a prize and much like Melbourne City, they also asserted complete dominance over the Blasters.
Let us have a look at the takeaways from the game:
5. Kerala need to solve their full-back problem
Kerala Blasters’ defensive woes were definitely exposed in the thrashings they received from both Melbourne City and Girona, but the latter expertly capitalized on their poor full-backs. Kerala played young Mohamed Rakip and Prasanth as their left and right-backs in the game.
This cost them horribly, with Girona’s wingers proficiently moving through the wings and creating all the chances from there. Kerala conceded most of their goals because of defensive lapses from their full-backs and the performance proved how more competent wide defenders are needed for the Blasters.
4. Should Naveen Kumar be Kerala Blasters’ #1?
It was a really topsy-turvy game for Blasters keeper Naveen Kumar, who looked in solid form in the early minutes of the match and pulled off some admirable saves in the first thirty minutes. But, his confidence was completely shot after conceding a poor opening goal, which saw Eric Montes beat him at his near post.
Things started to get worse for Kumar in the second half, with some of his mistakes helping Girona pile on the humiliation. On the other hand, he did pull off some terrific saves throughout the game and showed decent potential. His performance gives rise to an intriguing debate about whether Kerala should stick with him in the ISL or look for more reliable options in the transfer market?
3. Courage Perkuson lone shining light in attack
Kerala Blasters were very easily overwhelmed by both their opponents in the tournament and recorded shockingly low possession in both games. So, it’s no surprise that they created minimal chances with such low possession. But, Courage Perkuson was someone who at least looked threatening in attack for them.
The winger created two decent chances against Girona, once sending Matej Poplatnik straight through on goal and later forcing a brilliant save from Girona’s keeper through his free-kick. While the likes of Seminlen Doungel and Poplatnik showed momentary flashes of brilliance, Perkuson proved to be a real menace to both Girona and Melbourne.
2. Girona’s pre-season sails through very smoothly
Girona came into the tournament as overwhelming favorites thanks to their superior squad and they proved why they were regarded so highly. Despite not bringing star man Cristhian Stuani, Girona were still the most attractive team to watch in the tournament and thrilled fans with some excellent football.
They absolutely floored the hosts, with their amazing movement, passing, and creativity being too hot to handle for the Blasters. This dominant tournament win will definitely lift the spirits of Girona’s players and help them go into the season with a load of confidence.
1. The Blasters badly need a midfield general
A major reason for Kerala’s low possession in the tournament was because of their poor midfield base and against Girona, Zakeer Mundampara and Keziron Kizito looked absolutely helpless in the middle of the park. The Blasters were easily bullied and dominated in midfield by the superior Girona side and had absolute nobody dictating for them in the middle.
They need a leader who can not only contribute defensively, but also rally the troops going forward in attack and provide them with some energy, which they haplessly lacked in the pre-season games.