Kerala Blasters Struggle to get back in Winning Ways

Kerala Blasters FC

Kerala Blasters failed yet again to secure all three points as they faced Odisha FC in the Indian Super League. Dominating the game from the start, Kerala went surprisingly behind in the 45th minute when Brazilian Diego Mauricio scored for Odisha FC. Kerala equalised shortly after through Jordon Murray and followed it up by taking the lead in 68th minute through Gary Hooper. Meanwhile, at the other end surprisingly, Diego Mauricio scored his second of the game to make it 2-2 for Odisha in 74th minute. 

Lineup and Facts

Blasters have managed to play well in recent games but have failed to win twice in their last two matches, despite taking the lead in both games. Meanwhile, for Odisha, who are bottom of the league, with eight points, they had managed to win the reverse fixture against Blasters back in December.

Blasters deployed a strong 4-4-1-1 formation Odisha opted for a traditional 4-3-3 attacking formation. 

First Half

Kerala kicked off the game on the front foot as they deployed a high pressing line upfront. This intense pressure often lead to clumsy defending from Odisha. Rahul KP and Samad continued to be the working force behind the KBFC attack in the first half.

Gary Hooper and Murray both had several chances but failed to convert them into goals. For Odisha winger Jerry Mawihmingthanga continues to develop as an exciting prospect linking up well with the Brazilian Diego Mauricio in attack. Both teams struggled to defend early on, as both often gave away the ball in each other’s half.

The first moment of note came early in the 9th minute when Murray’s shot flew over the crossbar. Kerala had a massive 67% possession in the first 20 minutes of the game. They also created plenty of chances in the first quarter of the game but failed to convert them in front of goal. Rahul’s intelligent run-ins from the right-wing constantly opened up the defence for Blasters. Juande also missed an open goal in the latter part of the first half which would have changed the game in favour of Kerala. 

Meanwhile, at the other end, a sloppy bit of play from Blasters gave rise to the first goal of the game in the 45th minute. After winning the ball, Jerry executed a one-two pass with Mauricio in the midfield before chipping the ball into the box for the Brazilian striker to place it past the goalkeeper.

Second Half

Kerala started the second half trying to find an equaliser, pressing forward in numbers. Samad and Hooper both missed early chances in the second half, with Odisha sitting deep in defence. Shortly after, a brilliant bit of play from Garry Hooper, lead to Murray equalising for Blasters in the 52nd minute. Hooper did extremely well to cross the ball into the path of Murray who slotted it home for Blasters. Gary Hooper then slotted home the second for Blasters in the 68th minute, thanks to an excellent cross by Sahal from the midfield into the box. Odisha FC were by now struggling as they failed to cut off the passing lines crafted by KBFC through the middle.

However, Blasters failure to read Mauricio’ run inside the box, lead to Odisha’s equaliser in the 74th minute. An excellent cross from Bradden Inman was slotted home by the Brazilian after Blaster’s defence failed to clear the ball in time. Odisha goalkeeper Arshdeep then denied KBFC a winner in the last minute of the game, when he brilliantly cleared an effort away from Costa.

KBFC managed 28 shots in the game, but only managed to find 8 on target. Odisha on the other hand were more clinical with the chances they had. They had 4 shots on target out of 8 in total by the end of the night.

What’s Next

East Bengal will meet Hyderbad FC on 11th February in the ISL.

Kerala Blasters next game will be against Hyderabad on 16th February, Odisha will face NorthEast United on the 14th February.

About the Author

I am a postgraduate in journalism who happened to have a passion for writing. I worked for print and TV Journalism and currently doing freelance jobs. For me, football is a fresh breath of air and possibly be the only reason I looked forward to every weekend. What I do love most about football is the incalculable nature of the game as a whole.