Michael Chopra emerges as architect of victory for Kerala Blasters
After facing the string of losses, Kerala Blasters finally registered their first victory by defeating Mumbai City FC here at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, Kochi on Friday.
The Indian-origin English Striker, Michael Chopra emerged as the architect of the victory who scored a goal to hand over the much-needed win to Kerala Blasters. This is the first victory of the team after nine matches and it took their points tally to four points and now the team is at the sixth position in the points table.
Chopra scored a goal in the 58th minute of the match and halted the winning campaign of Mumbai City FC as this is team’s first defeat after four matches still; the team in terms of points is way ahead of Kerala Blasters and has seven points on the table.
The strategy of the manager of Kerala Blasters, Steve Coppell for choosing an ultra-attacking line-up against Mumbai FC brought the first victory of the team. Kerala players played the aggressive game and attacked Mumbai’s territory four times in the first nine minutes and made their intentions clear that they will not settle down anything less than victory today.
The local lad, striker Mohammad Rafi flung into an action right from commencing of the match and directed the header straight into the goalpost which was defended by the goalkeeper Roberto Netto. A minute later, Rafi again tried to place the ball inside the goalpost but he failed miserably as his shot sailed wide. Rafi again got the third chance within first six minutes of the game but alert Mumbai goalkeeper quickly grabbed the long ball of Rafi.
It seemed that Kerala players totally overpowered the confidence of Mumbai players as they were seen struggling all through the game. Then deadlock was finally broken up by Michael Chopra in 45th minute, who aggressively tried to hole up a goal after a superb long ball from Josue Prieto but failed in their attempt. In added time, Rafi’s header again missed the goalpost by a whisker and the Mumbai goalkeeper was the most relieved at that moment.
Finally, it was again Chopra who brought a big smile on the faces of Kerala Blasters by scoring the goal in the 58th minute of the match. It was Belfort who tried his luck at goal but the ball deflected and fell for Chopra. Later, while talking at presentation Chopra thanked his stars and loose Mumbai’s defence which helped him scoring his maiden goal of the tournament.
However at one point of the time in the match, fans of Kerala Blasters had got tensed when Mumbai FC’s substitute Sony Norde took the ball directly inside the danger zone and took a shot at goal which seemed to pass clearly the goalkeeper Sandip Nandy. But, Aaron Hughes jumped to rescue his team and effectively cleared the ball of the goalpost.