Kerala Blasters head coach Nelo Vingada was happy with his team's performance in the 2-2 draw with Bengaluru on Wednesday at the Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.
The visitors had the chance to beat Bengaluru for the first time in their history after Slavisa Stojanovic and Courage Pekuson gave them a two-goal lead at the break. However, Udanta Singh and Sunil Chhetri scored in the second-half to deny Vingada's men three points.
“I think it was a great game today, a great show. There were strong intensity and good challenges. The first half was amazing for us. At the end of the first half, we failed to get a third and kill the game," Vingada said after the game.
"In the second half, Bengaluru were playing long balls, but my players are not tall enough, so they had rhe advantage. I would have felt the same pride for my players even if we had lost the game today. Today we could prove that we can play against any team, in any situations. Today we had 4-5 good chances, which Bengaluru did not have. Bengaluru played well and showed why they are on top of the league.”
Mohammad Rakip was deployed at right-back in place of the suspended Lalruatthara. The youngster did well in the first half but struggled to deal with a revitalised Sunil Chhetri in the late stages of the match.
“Rakip played well but he found it hard to deal with Chhetri in the ending minutes, which is normal because Sunil is a great player. Pritam (Singh) got his first minutes today, I’m happy with how it panned out.
“Today we could replicate some of the situations that we do in the training. Today (Sahal) Samad was in a 3 on 1 situation and he played a ball he shouldn’t have. There will be mistakes, but I’m impressed with how the team played in the first 45 minutes. We prevented them from creating any chances. They obviously pressed harder and played better in the second half. But I’m still happy with how the team performed and it’s nice to go forward with this confidence.
“We have to say that in the second half Bengaluru tried harder by finding more solutions, bringing on better players and stretching it wide. I don’t think my players’ performance came down. I think their quality went up and so we looked like we went down.”
The Portuguese coach is hoping that his team can produce similar performances in the games to come.
“We have to at how we performed in these three games and look at the mistakes we made. The lesson we learned today is that we have to keep this attitude. We played against the team that is on top of the league. The performance was good but what matters is the result and we need to improve that. I hope that we can perform as we did in this game in the future games.”