Kerala Blasters' head coach Ivan Vukomanovic has insisted that despite the loss, this season would be the trailblazer to Blasters’ success, but has underlined refereeing decisions going against his boys on Sunday night as well.
The Blasters re-lived their horrors of a penalty shootout failure as it lost its Indian Super League final, this time to Hyderabad at the PJN Stadium in Fatorda on Sunday.
Ivan expressed his displeasure in refereeing at the match.
The Blasters had dominated the first half of the match and looked overall in control of possession after the opening goal of the match by Rahul KP.
In the 84th minute, Nishu Kumar went down at the edge of the penalty box after a challenge by Akash Mishra. Neither was a penalty govern nor was the player involved booked, which incensed the Kerala camp, including Ivan.
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“We can control the training process — how we want to play, how we want to attack, how we want to defend, all those things. Then there are the things that we cannot control, e.g. referees.”
“Referees’ decisions and I think that this season we were at the bad end lots of times, with so many unpleasant decisions which were working against us, and tonight as well,” he said.
“It's not nice when you lose on penalties, we can call it bad luck, bad shooting, whatever,” he added.
Ivan had subbed off its two starting strikers Alvaro Vazquez (90+22’) and Jose Pereyra Diaz (91’) with its centre back Marko Lescovic taking the first spot-kick in the shootout and eventually missing first of the three missed penalties.
“In the last couple of days, we were practising penalties as well, and Leskovic was the guy who was scoring old penalties. He has great passing, he has great shots. So, the decision was ours to go with him, Luna was the fifth one then,” Ivan said.
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“There is the moment when you are missing some of your players, who were supposed to shoot, and then you know, as a coach, you always want to ask if there are any players who wanted to shoot.”
“Actually, we had many raised hands over there and many brave boys, so I'm really proud of them. Later on, you know, a penalty is a penalty. You never know how it will come out, so we are at the bad end.”
Though KBFC’s season ended with a loss, the Serbian expressed happiness with the progress his side has made this season, making it to the final after six years, and said that this will be a foundation for better things to come.
“These boys understood the way we wanted to achieve things, and I think that we deserve to be tonight. We deserve to be in the finals where nobody expected us to be this season,” he said.
“We made a great way, and I think that it is now the great basis for building up further on, to reinforce and become even stronger and then fight back maybe next year.”