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Kerala Blasters’ performance against Mumbai City, especially in the first half, left much to be desired …
When Kerala Blasters often fight in the second half of one of their games, the story and the discussions surrounding their performance are almost always about a fight.
But when it keeps happening, it’s time to talk about why they end up in such situations in the first place.
On Saturday, Blasters got off to a disastrous start against Mumbai City, which was second in the league table before the game began. Adam Le Fondre sent a Costa Nhamoinesu penalty in the third minute before Hugo Boumous overtook the defense to hold on to a free kick from his own half by Ahmed Jahouh and conceded in style eight minutes later.
In the first 15 minutes, the Yellow Army was two goals behind and seemed to have no idea how to get back into the game. Sergio Lobera’s Mumbai City, who have comfortably dominated possession in all their games this season, needed no invitation to stamp their authority on the game. There were some lovely touches on display for onlookers, but mostly from the men in blue.
The blasters were really bad in the first half. There are no excuses for those involved to start a soccer game the way they did. No amount of encouragement or struggle the team showed in the second half will be able to undo the serious damage that was already done in the first 45 minutes.
Sergio Lobera enjoys an excellent winning record against Blasters during his time with Goa and the Yellows’ last win against Mumbai came two years ago. As a result, there weren’t high expectations for an easy win, especially this season when the City Football Group-owned team is packed with quality and doing well.
However, the defense of the two goals was comical. Vicuña reinstated captain Costa in center defense, but modified his preferred foreign central defender association to give Sandeep Singh a start. Costa dropped Boumous minutes after kickoff and forward Adam le Fondre, who had five goals on the season, accepted a special invitation to add one more to his account.
The entire bottom line was turned off when Ahmed Jahouh put Boumous ahead of the defense for the second goal. There was no one following the midfielder, one of the best players on the team, running into the area and no one close to the player to challenge him for the ball. Boumous made it look so easy when he stroked the ball alongside a hapless Albino Gomes to open his account for the season.
Although the short preseason and pandemic have forced teams to rotate their squads more frequently this season, a quick scan of Vicuña’s starting lineups tells you that he hasn’t figured out his best lineup yet. Annoying criticism picked up by players at times over the past two months has also contributed to hampering the implementation of the coach’s proven philosophy on the team.
It was an improved display from Vicuña’s men after the break, but that’s the intensity expected of them from the start. Furthermore, it was also a case where Mumbai took their foot off the gas after taking a two-goal lead.
The referee’s decisions were moot at times, Sahal threatened to score more than once, Jordan Murray seemed a much more useful forward than Gary Hooper for the second game in a row and Albino Gomes once again proved that he can be trusted with shots from the ground. point and reflex saves.
From the fans’ point of view, it makes sense to celebrate these positive takeaways from the game. However, as a playoff aspiring club hungry for trophies, the Kerala Blasters require fewer ‘energetic counterattacks’ and more ‘easy wins’. It is high time they demanded more and stopped settling for less.