The spoils are shared between Kerala Blasters FC and SC East Bengal as the game ended 1-1 at the GMC Stadium Bambolim.
The game started with the Blasters setting up in a 4-3-3 formation and EB in a 4-5-1. Kibu went back to his usual, tried and tested system after the promising two striker combination against BFC. With Costa coming back, the team played a highline to catch the EB players in an offside trap. However, this was a double-edged sword as Fowler set his team to break the counter with Pilkington as the sole striker. Throughout the game EB either broke quickly or played a long ball from defense that gave the Blasters, defensive problems. The game would have been EB’s if it were not for Albino’s heroics and we could say the same for EB’s Goalkeeper, Debjit.
In the first half, the team weren’t up to the races, although there were some good performances from a few like Facundo, Vicente and Rahul. Rahul was our sole attacking output in the first half, since Hooper was hardly in the box and the young lad worked his socks off through out the game. Our full backs were pushing up and Costa was stepping out not just to the midfield but straight into the opposition half. That is some confidence from the captain with the defensive organization struggling to be top notch.
Credit to Kibu for spotting the deficiency in terms of personnel in that line up and making 3 subs at half time. All 3 subs made an impact after coming on, although Murray was unlucky to have not scored. However, Murray provided the team a focal point and pace through the middle. Sahal played on as a wide 10 which suited him well. He was finding spaces in dangerous area as he linked up well with Murray.
With Facundo dropping deeper to receive the ball more, Vicente and Jeakson played their role well as the Blasters dominated the second half. Even though the equalizer came at stoppage time, Blasters deserved to draw the match for their performance during the second half. This young team will take heart from that spirited performance in the second half that saw Jeakson score from a set piece.
There are positives in all games played so far, but its all about putting that together. We must do that more from the next game onwards, with our strikers letting into action. Kibu has all the right arsenal in his weaponry and he must utilize the right one. Let us all support this young team; they need that now.