Rahul KP: Goal against Bengaluru FC changed a lot of things
Rahul KP was another young player this Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) season who impressed one and all through a string of good performances. The Kerala Blasters FC midfielder featured in 17 games in the 2020-21 campaign and scored three goals in what was only his second season with the team.
Talking about his goal that fetched a well-deserved win in the dying moments of the game against Bengaluru FC in the reverse fixture, the 21-year-old said his injury-time strike was a gamechanger as far as his season was concerned.
In a counter-attacking move, Gary Hooper found him with a pinpoint pass down the right and Rahul sped on showing great dribbling skills to beat Leon Augustin before unleashing a fierce strike that Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in goal had no answer to.
"I always love to score goals. That goal changed a lot of things," Rahul told Goal.
He went on: "Before that, we had lost two points against SC East Bengal [following a 1-1 draw]. I was really disappointed. The Bengaluru FC match was the trigger.
"We also know about the fans -- one mistake and you are crucified. I was really stressed and not happy with the performance. And then I got the moment, thank god for that, everything changed after that. "
However, Rahul’s performances that earned him a maiden call-up to India’s 35-member preliminary squad couldn’t help the Blasters in a significant way as they finished 10th on the points table. He assessed his as well as his team’s season.
"The more games you play, you improve. Playing 17 matches is not bad. It is a positive thing to play that many games. It has been amazing -- not really a rollercoaster ride but still happy to score three goals.
“I am not satisfied with my individual performance and that of the team. I don't know what went wrong. I don't know if it's due to the coach or the players. Whoever plays should shoulder the responsibility, that's what I feel," he said.
He went on: "There was competition for sure in the squad. We had a lot of wingers. Nongdamba [Naorem] had played under the coach [at Mohun Bagan AC under Kibu Vicuna]. I fought for my place, I love it when something is challenging. Without injury, I could have done so much better."