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"The game's not about Sandesh Jhingan" - Ivan Vukomanovic

On Sunday, Bengaluru FC will face their bitter rivals Kerala Blasters in Kochi. Before the game, Ivan Vukomanovic and Simson Grayson spoke to the media.

The games not about Sandesh Jhingan - Ivan Vukomanovic

Ivan Vukomanovic and Apostolos Giannou (Credits: Kerala Blasters)


Aswathy Santhosh

Published: 10 Dec 2022 2:14 PM GMT

One of the most heated rivalries in Indian football is the matchup between the Kerala Blasters and Bengaluru FC. There is a lot at stake, and both teams will do everything they can to win three points when they meet on 11th December in Kochi.

After losing three straight games, Kerala Blasters went on to win four consecutive matches and are now very optimistic. According to Ivan Vukomanovic, Kerala Blasters favour playing these types of games.

"We know that it's a very important game for all people in Kerala, a southern derby. We as a team like to play these kind of games. So we hope to see tomorrow to get one interesting game and let the better team wins".

Ivan Vukomanovic also stated that three defeats in a row was necessary, "We needed that kind of slap in the face. From then, from that moment, you want to continue building up, you want to get back to certain basics. December and half of January, are the most important parts of the season where many teams become casual, dropping points. We want to be the team that is consistent."

On Sunday, emotions will be at an all-time high as Sandesh Jhingan, the beloved former captain of the Kerala Blasters, returns to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to represent the adversary. However, Ivan Vukomanovic says that is not an important detail.

"He is an important player of the national team. He is such a great name of Indian football like he has been in in the past. Whatever has happened in the past is in the past. It's not about one person, one coach or something. It's about the spectacle for the fans. It's about two teams fighting against each other."

Bengaluru FC coach Simson Grayson is new to the Indian Super League, but he is well aware of how pricey this game is.

"It's one of the fixtures that when I first arrived in India that everybody spoke about given the rivalry between the two clubs and the number of supporters that are going to be in there and I suppose it'll add the spice to the game.

There is that Kerala are on a good run of form and we're looking obviously to get back to the winning ways after losing last weekend so yeah, it's something that I'm excited about and I'm sure the players are as well," the Englishman commented.

Despite their recent form, Grayson is confident of getting off to a winning start in the high-octane game at Kochi. "If you are playing against your local rivals, there's no better time to start winning and start going on a run like a lot of teams have done. We're more than capable of doing that. So why not start this weekend?".

Despite having prolific scorers like Roy Krishna and Sunil Chhetri in the squad, Bengaluru FC has only scored four times in eight games. They recently signed Pablo Perez to their roaster in order to help put an end sorry state of affairs. Grayson, on the other hand, is unsure whether he will be available for selection since Perez only took part in three training sessions.

Following a brief hiccup, Kerala Blasters are on a roll. Grayson was all praise about their opponents. He said, "Kerala Blasters had a bad run, I think three or four defeats on the trot and then have gone four games victorious, and that's confidence, belief, having the fine margins go their way at times. They've obviously got a fantastic player in Luna, who makes them tick, good technician on the ball and their striker [Diamantakos] has scored in the last four games as well," the coach praised.

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