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ISL 2017: Kerala Blasters Need to Finish Scoring Chances, Says CK Vineeth

The Blasters have one of the tightest defensive set-ups in the league. Paul Rachubka, a former Manchester United man, just like the manager, Wes Brown and the injured Dimitar Berbatov has managed to keep 3 clean sheets in their 5 games.

Abhimanyu Sen | News18 Sports

Updated:December 22, 2017, 12:41 PM IST
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ISL 2017: Kerala Blasters Need to Finish Scoring Chances, Says CK Vineeth
A file photo of CK Vineeth. (Twitter/CK Vineeth)
New Delhi: After a wait of four matches, 360 minutes, twice runners-up of the Indian Super League, Kerala Blasters registered their first win as they edged past NorthEast United FC in Kochi. The task at hand now for Rene Meulensteen’s side is to build on that and their next opponents are former champions Chennaiyin FC at the Marina Arena.

The Blasters have one of the tightest defensive set-ups in the league. Paul Rachubka, a former Manchester United man, just like the manager, Wes Brown and the injured Dimitar Berbatov has managed to keep 3 clean sheets in their 5 games. They have conceded 6 times, the second best after Jamshedpur FC who’ve let in a grand total of 1 after half a dozen matches.

The problem though has been the lack of goals from the Blasters. With a strike force comprising the likes of Berbatov, Iain Hume and CK Vineeth, the men in yellow have surprisingly been able to find the back of the net only 4 times, with a total of 18 shots on target in 5 games.

India international Vineeth who returned from suspension to take his team over the line in their previous outing says, “We have missed too many chances in our matches. I missed easy ones against Jamshedpur and Mumbai and these things are hurting us.”

“We should have scored at least another couple of goals against the NorthEast United team.”

Before the Blasters managed to register their first win, they were handed a footballing lesson by the Sergio Lobera managed FC Goa when they lost 5-2, and also helped Ferran Corominas score the fastest hat-trick in the history of the competition. It took the striker 7 minutes in the second half to net three goals. Interestingly, the most number of shots on goal for the Blasters came against Goa when they took aim 5 times.

A performance like that would have no doubt been a rude jolt for Kerala, and they had to react. What was worse that both Hume and Berbatov were out injured.

“After the defeat against FC Goa, all the team wanted to do was react and fight back,” Vineeth pointed out.

Meulensteen’s side will have their task cut out against the Chennaiyin side coached by John Gregory. Not only do the stand third on the table as we approach the half way stage in the competition, star forward Jeje has found his scoring touch. He’s scored thrice only in 6 games, but few would bet against him once he gets on a roll.

When the question of his national team strike partner Jeje is raised, Vineeth says, “He is a very dangerous striker on his day. It will be crucial to stop him.”

Indeed it will be, because if Jeje, the Mizo marksman, finds the target, Kerala’s track record of not having scored too many is likely to haunt them.

But, encouragingly for the Blasters, Vineeth, Hume and Mark Sifneos should all be able to find space alongside each other as they look for their second win of the competition.

As per Vineeth’s assessment, “We have managed to create chances and attack, but we have been wasteful.”

Meulensteen and the management will hope that assessment changes positively as soon as possible, because otherwise, the target of winning the final will remain a distant dream.

“We have been improving every game. The likes of Brown and Berbatov have a lot of experience and they have been helping us in training every day,” the forward adds.

Muelensteen can only hope that all this culminates into a second win, which might just be the catalyst for the snowball effect to come into play for the Blasters.

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| Edited by: Pratik Sagar
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