Kerala Blasters FC assistant coach Frank Dauwen commended his team’s defensive unit after the Blasters recorded a solid 1-0 win against Punjab FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Thursday.

In what was a cagey game, Kerala Blasters FC secured the three points away from home courtesy of a penalty from Dimitrios Diamantakos. The result helped KBFC bag their sixth win of the season, taking their tally to 20 points from 10 games, level on points with leaders FC Goa. The Blasters also notched their third clean sheet of the season and the first one away from home. Dauwen hailed the entire defence for keeping a clean sheet, particularly the centre-back partnership of Milos Drincic and Marko Leskovic, who played together for the first time this season.

“Our defence was good. We played for the first time with two foreign players (in central defence). Normally we play with one foreign player and one Indian but Luna was not fit to play and we made that change. We played out (from the back) with a good organisation. I think the whole defence was good,” Dauwen stated in the post-match press conference.

Things were tight in the first half, with both sides creating some promising chances. However, Kerala Blasters FC upped their game in the second half and made it hard for the hosts to penetrate their defence. The away side continued to create chances, but lacked the cutting edge in the final third. Dauwen felt that his side should have had another goal for the chances they created.

“In the first half, we had control of the game. We had some good offensive actions but we couldn’t score (the second goal),” Dauwen reflected.

“In the second minute, we hit the crossbar I think and then we had control without big chances. In the second half, I told the players to press Punjab FC’s defence higher and then we had a penalty. That was a good one. But in football as long as its 1-0 or a one-goal difference, then it’s difficult in the end. We had a lot of chances. We had some good chances to score the second goal and to kill the game,” he added.