Kochi: Kerala Blasters players and head coach Ivan Vukomanovic received a warm welcome on their arrival here on Saturday afternoon after their dramatic exit from the Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season.
Serb Vukomanovic took his players off the field protesting a quickly taken free-kick goal by Sunil Chhetri in the first knockout match at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Friday night.
Though the Blasters players argued with the referee, the goal stood and Bengaluru FC advanced to the semifinals.
Vukomanovic refused to comment about the controversial goal on his arrival. Hundreds of fans gathered at the Cochin airport and welcomed Vukomanovic with yellow roses.
Vukomanovic had guided Blasters to a runner-up finish last season before taking them to the playoffs this season.
Bengaluru will take on Mumbai City FC in the semifinals. Hyderabad FC will meet the winners of the second knockout match between ATK Mohun Bagan and Odisha FC in the second semifinals.