Nothing went according to plan for Kerala Blasters in the match against Jamshedpur FC, which they eventually lost 0-3. Blasters, who fielded a depleted side after Argentine forward Jorge Pereyra Diaz suspended for the game, looked a pale shadow of their usual self, especially after conceding two back-to-back penalties.
The first penalty was awarded when young left-back Denechandra Meitei, who hardly got any chance to play this season, made a rash tackle inside the box. He had already cleared the ball and there was no need to go for that mindless challenge. Jamshedpur took the lead with what looked like a definite penalty. The second penalty, however, was hard to accept as it appeared to be a poor refereeing decision. That double blow put the Yellow Brigade on the back foot. Thereafter, the team did not show any intent to mount pressure on the opponents and cut the deficit.
Although midfielder Adrian Luna was deployed in the attack to fill the space left by Diaz's absence, the move did not yield the desired result. The poor show by Blasters in the previous seasons was mainly due to their uninspiring and pedestrian options in midfield. Luna had been holding the key to the team’s midfield solidity this season. The decision to send him up front was a tactical mistake.
(The writer is a former captain of the Indian football team)