A long-awaited performance and a long-awaited result! This is the kind of football the fans want Kerala Blasters to play. Blasters, who donned a special jersey dedicated to the 1973 Kerala Santosh Trophy squad who won the National Football Championship for the first time, were a delight to watch as they notched up their first win in this edition of the ISL beating Odisha FC 2-1.
The Yellow Brigade showed fine coordination and slick passing, and were able to slice open the Odisha defence time and again. It was an intense, high-pressing game, and I have not seen Blasters playing with such intensity in recent times. All their four foreign recruits produced a top-notch performance.
The newfound energy and confidence in Indian players was heartening to see. The Odisha coach would not have expected it, I guess.
Young guns Puitea, Jeakson, Sahal and Barretto as well as the experienced Khabra played their hearts out. Substitutes Prasanth and Prabhsukhan Gill (goalkeeper) too rose to the occasion. Alvaro Vazquez showed what he can do if he is in an advantageous position in front of the goal. The goal scored by Prasanth too was spectacular.
Head coach Ivan Vukomanovic deserves a fair share of credit for this win. It was evident that the Serbian could effectively utilise the break after the match against Bengaluru FC.
(The writer is a former captain of the Indian football team)