On Friday evening, southern India outfits Kerala Blasters and Chennaiyin played out a stalemate at JLN Stadium in Kochi. The draw strengthens John Gregory’s chances of fixing a berth in the playoffs while the David James-coached team will have to depend on the results of other teams along with ensuring maximum points from their last league game.
Speaking of the result, head coach James stated that the opposition’s goalkeeper Karanjit Singh took the victory away from his side. ‘’Their keeper was the man of the match. We had a lot of chances on target. I can't fault the performance of the team. I am frustrated that we didn't win. We hit the target but they kept saving it,’’ he commented.
In the 53rd minute of the game, the hosts were awarded a penalty when Jerry Lalrinzuala brought down Icelandic striker Gudjon Baldvinsson inside the box. However, Courage Pekuson failed to convert from the spot. Discussing the incident, James explained, ‘’There were ten other options to take the penalty. With (Iain) Hume injured, we needed someone stepped up and Courage (Pekuson) did.’’
Further, the former Liverpool custodian expressed, ‘’The reality is that we could have won this game. We need some heavy results to go our way. Mumbai are winning, Goa and Jamshedpur are still in there. Jamshedpur need to lose one, that would be nice.’’
The match on February 23, Friday was the last home fixture of Kerala. Out of the nine games on home soil, they registered two wins, five draws and two wins. Reflecting on their performance at home, the gaffer added, ‘’We did everything we could but he (Karanjit Singh) got in the way. We have to be playing well for the fans to be turning up game in and game out.’’
Lastly, the 47-year-old expressed his urge to continue at the south Indian club in the next chapter of the tournament. ‘’My desire is obviously to part of this club for a longer term. Given a preseason, there is an opportunity to make a talented group of players,’’ he concluded.