Kerala Blasters FC have lacked the necessary luck in Hero ISL finals: IM Vijayan
Former Indian footballer IM Vijayan feels that Kerala Blasters FC’s luck runs out in finals, as the team lost a golden opportunity to grab their first-ever Hero ISL title after losing to Hyderabad FC in the summit clash on March 20. This was the Blasters’ third appearance in a title clash in eight seasons, having lost in each one of them.
The arrival of Ivan Vukomanovic brought in a major turnaround in the setup, as Kerala Blasters FC qualified for the semi-finals for the first time in six seasons. Following a slow start, the side played some sensational football, winning nine matches in the league stage, accumulating 34 points, marking their best ever season, performance-wise.
Having got past League Winners’ Shield holders Jamshedpur FC 2-1 in a two-legged semi-final, they were up against Hyderabad FC in the pinnacle clash. The Blasters were on their way to the title, but a late equaliser from Sahil Tavora rolled the game into extra time. Eventually, Hyderabad FC prevailed after an exciting penalty shoot-out to lift the trophy.
"It seems they don't have luck going their way after reaching the final. They faltered at the final hurdle, otherwise they had a good tournament. They have a good team. I am sure they could build on this for the next season," said IM Viyajan, during an interview with news9live.com.
Hailing from Thissur, IM Vijayan scored 40 goals in 79 internationals, forming a lethal duo with Bhaichung Bhutia in the late 90s’, inspiring the Blue Tigers to a 1999 SAFF Championship triumph. Throwing light on the performance of the team based out of his state, Vijayan heaped praise on the three foreigners and the head coach for the successful season.
"The three foreigners (Alvaro Vazquez, Adrian Luna and Jorge Diaz) combined well. The coach is very good, he has improved the performance of the Indians too. The team played as a unit,” added Vijayan.