Kerala Blasters FC suffered a humiliating 0-6 defeat against A-league side Melbourne City FC in the opening match of the Toyota Yaris LaLiga World tournament at Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium here on today.
The visitors attacked from both the flanks and consistently tested the Blasters backline through some creative moves by Riley McGree and Lachlan Wales in the middle. Scottish forward Michael O’Halloran kept Sandesh Jhingan busy through the first half, as the skipper struggled to keep pace against the City forwards.
The constant probing from Melbourne City FC forwards finally paid dividends as Dario Vidosic headed one into the far corner right at the half an hour mark with some clever work by Nathaniel Atkinson beat three Blasters men to chip it back to Luke Brattan, who lobbed it over the defence to find Vidosic.
Three minutes later McGree doubled the lead for City. An unguarded Caceres came off with a brilliant one-two move playing it forward to McGree, who swivelled past Jhingan to score as the first half saw scoreline reading 2-0 in favour of the A-League side.
The second half story was no different. Five minutes into the second half, Bruno Fornaroli took a shot at the goal which was blocked by the Blasters’ defender, but Wales found himself in the right place at the right time to calmly put it past the goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh.
In the 56th minute, 19-year-old McGree, who eventually won the man-of-the-match award, made it 4-0 for the visitors.
By the 66th minute, Melbourne City FC fielded a brand new XI, but the goals didn’t stop coming. 18-year-old Ramy Najjarine registered his name on the scoresheet in the 75th minute as hapless Blasters trailed 0-5.
Relentless as they were, Melbourne City scored their sixth in the 79th minute via Fornaroli. It could’ve been 7-0 if the shot from Connor Metcalfe would not have met the far upright woodwork in the 82nd minute.
“It is definitely disappointing to start the campaign on a losing note. It wasn’t going to be easy against a quality opposition like Melbourne City Fc but I am happy the team did not show any signs of complacency till the last minute, said Kerala Blasters head coach, David James.
“It is very easy to lose hope once you are 6-0 down by the 79th minute, but fighting till the last minute and giving it your best is what characterizes the team. We shall definitely come back stronger against Girona on Sunday.