Keeping the nose to the grindstone – The Rewind
It was a do or die match for our boys in Yellow to be in contention for the top four race as we visited Odisha FC at the Fatorda. However, the hosts held us to a 2-2 draw, denying us the important 3 points. The Blasters have found it hard to get a win despite toping all attacking indices in the respective matches, while Odisha have been struggling throughout the season and are at the bottom position in the table.
Kibu set up the team in his trusted 4-4-1-1 formation which seems to be working really well for us going forward. There were 2 changes in the starting line up with Jeakson Singh and Gary Hooper being named again in the starting lineup. We had a CB pairing of Jeakson and Costa for the match with Sandeep and Denechandra occupying the right and left sides of the defense respectively. The midfield and the striking department comprised of the usual combinations with Rahul owning the right flank as facundo is yet to complete his recovery from the injury he sustained. Murray was the target man with Hooper playing behind him.
The game started with the boys pressing high for the ball and working on that second ball to formulate an attack. Chances were coming left right and center for the Blasters. Kibu was courageous to play with a high backline and committing men forward as it was important to get goals. It was a bold move and there are all possibilities for a counter attack from the opposition with that kind of forward play, and it did cost us the first goal. With the men bombing forward for attack can leave the fort unarmed for the opposition to fire with ease. In that Odisha counter attack our defense were not found in the place they supposed to be thus granting an easy 1-0 lead to the hosts before the half-time.
In the back of our mind we all knew that a goal was coming with the score at 1-0. Hooper and Murray combined well to bring us level. Murray, Rahul and Sahal were allowed to take shots at will but they were not clinical enough to get us the much needed lead. Sahal has improved leaps and bounds in set piece delivery and final third passes. With relentless attacks, a goal was coming for the Blasters to give them the lead. A reverse ball for Hooper from the edge of the box by Sahal paved the way for our second goal of the night. It was the result of a more direct football from the Blasters and the finish was exquisite from Hooper. The first instinct of this midfield is to facilitate with the attack which leaves our defence exposed.
Similar to the previous games it was unfortunate that we could not put the game to bed before the full time whistle. A counter attack from the opposition from the wings lead to an equalizer for the hosts hence putting a dent to our playoff hopes. It was a very cheap goal to concede as the defense snoozed off and let Inman get behind and set up Mauricio for his second. Albino pulled off an outstanding save towards the end to make sure we walked away with a point.
It was again a disappointing night for the Men in Yellow as we were looking for nothing less than 3 points to take home. To settle for a draw in a match we dominated throughout and had a total of 29 shots, it’s hard to take. The team is making headways in many areas. The players are keeping their nose to the grind stone to get the best results. Now we cannot control any other results but ours, we will be going into overdrive to get maximum points from the remaining fixtures.