The Indian Super League's (ISL) Kerala franchise, Kerala Blasters FC defeated Big Bang Chula United Football Club (BBCU FC) 2-1 in their first pre-season friendly in Bangkok, Thailand on Monday.
Michael Chopra opened the scoring for the Blasters and the second was bagged by local boy Prasanth Karuthadathkuni from Kerala in the 50th minute before The Pink Panthers, formerly known as Sinthana United FC, pulled one back in the 77th minute.
With Graham Stack in between the sticks, the defense was marshaled by Sandesh Jhingan and Cedric Hengbart; with Ishfaq Ahmed and Josu Currias in midfield; and Thonkhosiem Haokip to accompany Chopra up front in the starting line-up, while Kerala's marquee player Aaron Hughes too took to the field.
The Stephen Coppell coached side have been holding their pre-season training at the Muang Thong Thani facility in Bangkok from September 7th and will be playing another two friendlies against Bangkok United FC and Pattaya United FC on September 14th and 18th respectively. The Blasters will have the second part of their pre-season in Kerala ahead of the ISL 2016.
In the Thai Premier League table, BBCU FC and Bangkok United (formerly known as Bangkok University FC) are placed on 18th and 2nd respectively. For the third friendly, Pattaya United will actually consist of a mix of players from Pattaya United and BBCU FC.
“The boys are excited and are enjoying their training sessions at this amazing facility in Bangkok. Teams in the Indian Super League are getting more and more competitive as the season progresses. The friendlies with teams here in Thailand will provide the players the right challenge to test their mettle ahead of season 3,” Coppell shared his views on the friendlies in Thailand.
Kerala Blasters will face NorthEast United FC in the opener of the ISL season 3 that will be hosted by the Indira Gandhi Athletic stadium in Guwahait, Assam, on October 1st.