Kerala Blasters lag behind as FC Goa fail to capitalize on strong start

The yellow army has got into the habit of getting off to a slow start and showing its intention only after conceding the first …

The Kerala Blasters have made a habit of shooting themselves in the foot with slow starts to Indian Super League (ISL) matches. It was the same syndrome displayed against FC Goa on Saturday.

Like their previous game against Bengaluru FC, Kibu Vicuna’s side conceded a goal in the first half and only returned to the game after the break. But unlike their last game, the Blasters weren’t able to score a second goal and had to settle for just one point despite playing against 10 men for much of the second half.

You could tell Kerala Blasters looked choppy and choppy in the first 45 minutes. In the second half, however, Vicuna’s men improved and showed an intention that saw them equalize. Rahul KP once again seized the opportunity and became the hero on his side, as he did against the Blues.

The Kerala Blasters have shown improvement over the season. They look confident and have a much better fit than they were at the start. But unfortunately, they don’t start their matches well. They wait for opponents to advance slightly before deciding to show their ability.

Currently, Kibu Vicuna’s side are unbeaten in the last four games and managed to accumulate eight points in the same period. But that can’t be a long-term thing if they want to make it to the playoffs.

Gary Hooper is another glaring problem on this side of the Kerala Blasters. The transfer of the former Norwich City striker to the Yellow Army had generated a lot of hype, with fans expecting the seasoned striker to change the club’s fortunes this season, but unfortunately the England striker no is not yet living up to its reputation.

The 32-year-old forward has managed to score just two goals in 11 ISL appearances so far. These are not the stats you would expect from a better striker. Hooper, in particular, looked frivolous against Goa. He had his opportunities against Goa but his first touch on several occasions was extremely poor, as was his decision making.

Vicuna also missed every missed opportunity as he felt his team could easily have secured the three points at the end without poorly executed final passes in the third striker.

For FC Goa, it was a mixed bad experience. Unlike their previous games, they scored early against the Blasters and looked like a team that meant business from the start. But their good start didn’t give them much as they only managed to score one goal despite plenty of chances. Profligacy has been a problem for Juan Ferrando’s side since their star striker Igor Angulo ceased to feature in the starting lineup due to prolonged illness.

The Spanish manager tried to deploy Jorge Ortiz as a No.9 but the ex-Atletico Madrid ‘B’ player is not a natural striker and this was reflected in his performance. It should be mentioned, however, that it was Ortiz who scored the lone goal for Goa in the game, somewhat incidentally.

Vicuna need to work on his team’s approach and start matches on a better note while FC Goa need to capitalize on their good starts and finish matches quickly.