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ISL 2023-24: Coaches pleased after Kerala Blasters FC, Chennaiyin FC play out thrilling draw; WATCH highlights

Kerala Blasters FC and Chennaiyin FC played out an incredible 3-3 draw in an exhilarating encounter that left nothing to separate between the two sides at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 season on Wednesday.

football ISL 2023-24: Coaches pleased after Kerala Blasters FC, Chennaiyin FC play out thrilling draw; WATCH highlights snt
First Published Nov 30, 2023, 1:01 PM IST

In a thrilling encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Wednesday, Kerala Blasters FC and Chennaiyin FC played to an exhilarating 3-3 draw in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 season. The high-scoring match left the crowd on the edge of their seats, showcasing the electric atmosphere at the Kerala Blasters' home turf.

The match kicked off with a bang as Rahim Ali of Chennaiyin FC netted the sixth-fastest goal in ISL history within 54 seconds. The early goal set the stage for an action-packed game, with both teams living up to the expectations of the enthusiastic crowd.

Chennaiyin FC's Rahim Ali and Jordan Murray, dealing with pre-game injury concerns, made remarkable recoveries to feature in the match. The fast-paced game saw Dimitrios Diamantakos and Murray converting penalties in the 11th and 13th minutes, with the home crowd, known as Manjappada, providing a resounding reception.

Ajith Kumar's foul on Kwame Peprah led to a penalty for the home side, expertly converted by Murray. The game continued its relentless pace, with Naocha Singh fouling Crivellaro a minute later, resulting in another penalty for Chennaiyin FC. Murray completed his hat-trick, showcasing exceptional skill and composure.

Despite the early setbacks, Kerala Blasters, led by captain Adrian Luna, initiated a remarkable comeback. Luna, from nearly 30 yards out, unleashed a spectacular shot that deflected off Peprah and found the back of the net, instigating the Blasters' resurgence.

In a night filled with wonder goals, Diamantakos added to the spectacle with a remarkable second goal. Controlling a pass from Danish Farooq, the Greek forward unleashed a powerful left-footed shot in the 59th minute, bringing the Blasters back on level terms with Chennaiyin FC.

Despite three fantastic goals from both sides, the match concluded with a 3-3 draw, forcing Kerala Blasters FC and Chennaiyin FC to settle for a point each in a pulsating ISL clash.

Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic and Chennaiyin FC's Owen Coyle shared their thoughts on the high-scoring draw. 

Analyzing his team's display, Vukomanovic believes that his squad gained valuable insights from the match. He also expressed gratitude for the support of the home crowd, acknowledging that their backing played a crucial role in the team's resurgence during the game.

"It was a great lesson as well for us.When we create good moments during the match and hear the positive chants from our home crowd, all of us including the players feel good. In spite of conceding three goals in the first half, we were talking about coming back in the game in the dressing room," he said.

"We wanted to give game time to players like Leskovic, Rahul KP, Ishan Pandita. It is because we are not just a group of 12 or 13 players, we want everybody to feel ready to play and we are happy for them," the Kerala Blasters FC coach said.

Talking about Peprah's goal, Vukomanovic added, "I am happy that today he managed to score a goal and he was very useful to our attack. He is the guy who can make the difference one on one. He is a great human being and he can improve more with our other foreign players. I feel that he can show us more things in the future."

He also lauded Diamantakos stating, "Dimi is a great striker. I think the way he trains, and his habits as a professional I think he is a great example to every other Kerala Blasters FC player. He is always hungry to score goals and that is a great mentality for a striker. Adrian Luna was suffering with fever for the last two days. He missed one training session however his mentality is priceless because even with difficulties, he wanted to push till the end."

Meanwhile, Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle stated that the result could have gone anywhere. “Both coaches at different times would have felt that they could have won all three points. I certainly felt at 3-1 that we were in a very good position to see the game through. If we took care of the final pass, we could have scored again. That being said, I accept that 3-3, with 10 minutes to go.. Kerala Blasters FC had more opportunities at that time. So Ivan (Vukomanovic) will certainly feel with that 3-3 in the last 10 minutes, he could have won it,” he said after the game.

“What I'm looking to build is a really positive attacking team. But I don't have all the pieces yet. What I need is a bit more solidity at the back. Middle to front, we have good players that can create chances against anybody. As a matter of fact even though we sit mid-table in the league, we have created more big chances than anybody. Which into the game, was same as Kerala Blasters FC tonight,” he explained. 

“Kerala Blasters FC scored three wonder goals whereas we got some big chances in the game. If we were toe to toe with Kerala Blasters FC for big chances, we are delighted. What Kerala have done is been more convincing with their finishing. Prior to the game they converted 55 percent more chances than we had. It shows that we need to be more clinical and at the other end, we need to be more solidified. But that will come with time. But tonight, it was a nice statement and some wonderful performance,” he added.

Kerala Blasters FC will square off against FC Goa at the Fatorda Stadium on December 3, whereas Chennaiyin FC will travel to take on Jamshedpur FC on December 7.

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