ANI Photo | “A great lesson for us,” says Kerala Blasters coach after draw with Chennaiyin FC

Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic took valuable lessons from his side’s performance in their 3-3 draw against Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal International Stadium in Kochi on Wednesday.
Kerala Blasters FC fell behind early on in the game with a goal by Chennaiyin FC forward Rahim Ali in the first minute of the game. They equalised with a penalty by Dimitrios Diamantakos and they conceded two further goals which were scored by Jordan Murray. Kwame Peprah reduced the deficit before halftime before Diamantakos brought Kerala Blasters FC back in the game with a 59th-minute goal. Both teams eventually could not find the breakthrough goal and the match ended with a 3-3 scoreline.
The draw took Kerala Blasters FC to the top of the table, leapfrogging FC Goa in the standings. Meanwhile, Chennaiyin FC stayed in seventh position in the table.
Reflecting on his side’s performance, Vukomanovic felt his side learnt a lot of lessons from the game. He also acknowledged the support of the home crowd that helped them get back in the game with their support.
“It was a great lesson as well for us. When we create good moments during the match and hear the positive chants from our home crowd, all of us including the players feel good,” Vukomanovic said as quoted by an ISL press release.
“In spite of conceding three goals in the first half, we were talking about coming back in the game in the dressing room,” he added.
Kerala Blasters FC made a host of changes in the game as they left out experienced defender Pritam Kotal on the bench along with Marko Leskovic and Daisuke Sakai.
Vukomanovic said he wanted to provide game time to some of his players who had started from the bench in previous games.
“We wanted to give game time to players like Leskovic, Rahul KP, Ishan Pandita. It is because we are not just a group of 12 or 13 players, we want everybody to feel ready to play and we are happy for them,” Vukomanovic said.
Ghanaian forward Kwame Peprah scored one of Kerala Blasters FC’s three goals against Chennaiyin FC and opened his account in India. Vukomanovic was very happy with his performance.
“I am happy that today he managed to score a goal and he was very useful to our attack. He is the guy who can make the difference one on one,” Vukomanovic said.
“He is a great human being and he can improve more with our other foreign players. I feel that he can show us more things in the future,” he added.
Greek forward Dimitrios Diamantakos scored twice in the game to help the home side salvage a point. Kerala Blasters FC captain and midfielder Adrian Luna was also influential, bagging an assist in the game to take his assists tally to four in the league.
Vukomanovic praised the quality of these two players and recognised their importance in his team because of their mentality and positive attitude.
“Dimi is a great striker. I think the way he trains, and his habits as a professional I think he is a great example to every other Kerala Blasters FC player,” Vukomanovic said.
“He is always hungry to score goals and that is a great mentality for a striker,” he further added.
“Adrian Luna was suffering from a fever for the last two days. He missed one training session however his mentality is priceless because even with difficulties, he wanted to push till the end,”
he added.

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