Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic believes his team deserved something from the game after facing a narrow defeat to Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Saturday.

In what was a cagey encounter at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, both teams managed to nullify each other for the majority of the game. However, Javi Hernandez provided a moment of brilliance with a late goal, securing crucial three points for Bengaluru FC.

This marked their sixth defeat of the season and their third consecutive loss on the road. Reflecting on the match, Vukomanovic acknowledged the intensity of the game but expressed disappointment in not being able to salvage a result.

“Of course it’s disappointing when you lose the game like that, especially at the end. In a total picture, I think the boys were good today. They had that motivation to fight and give everything on the pitch and leave their heart for the team. As a coach, I'm happy about that. On the other hand, we knew that this kind of game will be tough in a way where there will not be a lot of chances. Both teams wanted to have that security, compact lines, not allowing the opponent to create something serious,” he said in the post-match press conference.

He added: “Even in the first part of the first half we were suffering a little bit, trying to find our grip on the pitch. Later, after the first water break, or even before that, we got the movements we wanted and how to close down certain things and at the end of the first half, we were in a position that we actually wanted. In the second half, I think in the beginning, we were a little bit better, creating better things again than our opponent. But when you play against these kinds of teams and these kinds of games.. It will be tough, it will be close. In these kinds of games, you cannot hope that you will get 20 chances.”

Very few chances materialised for both sides, with Bengaluru FC notably creating the better opportunities during the evening. Only three shots on target were registered by both teams throughout the game, with Kerala Blasters FC registering just one. However, Hernandez’s strike made the difference in the end. 

The outcome also marked the Blues extending their unbeaten run against the Blasters on their home turf. Vukomanovic recognised the challenges of playing at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium and acknowledged the quality present in Bengaluru FC’s squad.

“From their goalkeeper, defence line to midfield, they have five or six of them (in the) starting eleven for the national team. And when you fit a couple of good and quality foreign players there, it’s a hell of a team. And when you face them in this kind of an environment, you know that it will be tough. We had our chances. We had some moments (to score),” he said.

The Serbian backed his team to recover from the result and get back fighting for the playoffs.

“In the end, it’s disappointing to lose the game. I think that we could have got something more. We’ll sleep over and continue. We have five more games left to fight to stay among the top teams and try to get into the playoffs,” he expressed.