Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic expressed his satisfaction with the result while acknowledging the challenging nature of the match as his team emerged victorious against Hyderabad FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) clash on Friday.

In what marked the final league fixture for both sides, with their positions in the table already determined, the battle for three points was about pride and ending the season on a positive note. 

Kerala Blasters FC, however, managed to break their five-game winless streak and clinch the win. Mohammed Aimen, Daisuke Sakai, and Nihal Sudeesh found the back of the net for the Blasters, while Hyderabad FC's captain Joao Victor scored a late goal, albeit merely serving as a consolation for the hosts.

Despite the Blasters' convincing victory, Vukomanovic acknowledged the game's difficulty and commended the efforts of players from both teams.

“For us, this was one of the most difficult games of the season. It was one of the games where there was no result of importance for either side. When you see and think about what both teams have been going through this season.. This kind of game today was a tough one for both sides,” he said in the post-match press conference.  

He added: “For one side, Hyderabad FC, these young group of players deserve one medal for this season for what they have been going through with all the issues and problems. Being there present with enthusiasm and motivation, so big praise for them. Congratulations to them for this kind of season to stay motivated every game. On the other hand, I have to say big praise for our team because today again we had a couple of players playing the position which they are not used to playing. We are suffering with some issues, some cards that we didn’t want to take risk today.” 

“Again, the feeling of playing this last game where it was already decided (we would be heading).. We wanted to win, we wanted to get those points for us as an important positive, mental boost for the next week for the playoffs. It was kind of a weird feeling, not having that high motivation. But yet again, you have to be motivated and concentrated for everything. Today we managed to do that. It was a tough game, it was difficult against the young team of Hyderabad FC. Their young players have a promising, nice future. I’m happy with the result and three points.”

Two of Kerala Blasters FC’s  youth academy talents, Aimen and Sudeesh, found the back of the net, marking their first-ever goals in the ISL. Similar to their previous match against NorthEast United FC, Kerala Blasters FC once again entrusted the majority of their young players with a spot in the starting eleven against Hyderabad FC. The decision paid dividends as the youthful contingent displayed an impressive performance on the field.

Coach Vukomanovic expressed his joy for Sudeesh and the other emerging talents who seized the opportunity to showcase their abilities on the big stage.

“Now it’s my third season at the club. Since season one we discovered a couple of young talents like Nihal, Vibin, Sachin, Azhar and Aimen. There are still a couple of youngsters. Tonight on the bench there was Aritra (Das). There are a couple of them also at home. That’s the future. That’s the part of football. If you don’t produce these kinds of players, very soon you will stay without players. If you want to stay alive with a limited budget, which some clubs have, they have to do that. It’s your asset for the future. Maybe you can sell some of them when they grow up, they become important players,” Vukomanovic expressed.

“Him (Sudeesh), Azhar, Aimen, Vibin, Sachin, all these youngsters who are growing up, you give them playing time. They have to pass through that period of youth and then come into the first eleven growing up. They have qualities to play in the ISL. So whenever we can, we are giving them that playing time. Sometimes in different positions because we want them to grow up faster and like that they will become better. It’s our asset. We have to continue working with him and not only him, but all of them a lot. Really hard, in order to get them better and get our club better,” he added.