Blasters FC sees huge opportunity against Chennaiyin

With Rino Anto and C.K. Vineeth, the two who played for Bengaluru FC in the recent AFC Cup, back and after winning the last game against FC Goa, the Blasters look a confident side.

Kerala Blasters trains for its Indian Super League match against Chennaiyin FC in Kochi.   -  Special Arrangement

There is a talk that some 35,000 Kerala Blasters fans, and that’s more than half of what the Nehru Stadium here could hold, would be wearing Zinedine Zidane masks when their team plays against defending champion Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League on Saturday evening.

Soon after the goalless game against Blasters in Chennai the other day, the Chennaiyin head coach Marco Materazzi appeared to roughen up the Kochi team’s forward Kervens Belfort, which brought the former Italian World Cup winner a one-match suspension.

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Nowhere in the country does an ISL team get as much support as the Blasters in Kochi and it looks like the fans are now keen to offer every little advantage when it takes on Chennaiyin.

No complacency

With Rino Anto and C.K. Vineeth, the two who played for Bengaluru FC in the recent AFC Cup, back and after winning the last game against FC Goa, the Blasters look a confident side. But head coach Steve Coppell made it clear that his team cannot be complacent.

“In the ISL, everything is magnified…if you lose, everyone thinks it’s the end of the world and if you win, you think we are champions,” said Coppell on Friday.

“Without doubt, any team in this league is capable of beating any other team. So you can never relax. You really have to have a top preparation, have a strong mentality and look forward to the next game as an opportunity and that’s the way, I hope we will come into this game.”

While Blasters, which finished at the bottom last season, is now in the fifth spot with 12 points, Chennaiyin has slipped to seventh after being thrashed 1-4 by Delhi Dynamos in an away game a couple of days ago.

But if there was hurt and pain, Materazzi masked it nicely when he said, “football is beautiful because you have one game coming after the other. So after one game, you just have to focus on the next.”

And on the issue of the Blasters’ fans turning up with Zidane masks, to bring back memories of the 2006 World Cup final between Italy and France when the Italian’s provoking resulted in French great Zidane head-butting him, Materazzi said, “what a waste of money, it could have been used to feed many people.”