Peter Taylor decided to bench all three of his goalscorers from the last game, and the result was a frustrated Kerala Blasters held to a goalless draw by Mumbai City FC in Match 8 of the Indian Super League 2015.
A capacity crowd waited in anticipation, expecting their team to put on another clinical performance, much like the one against NorthEast United FC, but the supporters were left a little disappointed as the Kerala Blasters struggled to put more than a few decent attacks together against a stubborn Mumbai City FC defence, comprising of four foreigners.
Both teams will go back to their hotel rooms thinking the 0-0 wasn't such a bad result, but there will be that feeling of "could have been a lot better" for Kerala, especially, but also Mumbai.
The first half was pretty ordinary, with the pace slow – understandable, considering the searing heat humidity – and neither team really showing enough attacking verve to trouble the goalkeepers.
Mumbai City were the far better team in that first 45, looking like the more likely team to score that opening goal, with Subhash Singam , in particular, impressing with his drive and work rate. His teammate Gabriel Fernandez, however, did not impress too much, taking that time-wasting strategy to another level in the final 25 minutes of the match, asking for stretchers on two occasions – once when he was about two yards from the touchline – before jumping back up and looking fresh a sa daisy.
Peter Taylor made a crucial change at halftime of the first ISL 2015 match, bringing on the pace of Sanchez Watt for Chris Dagnall, but all the manager did this time out was change the roles of his players a little, with Marcus Williams moving from wing-back to the left-centre-back position of the back three, while Bruno Perone shifted to midfield, with CK Vineeth taking the wing-back slot, the position he excelled in against NorthEast.
The Blasters were certainly better in the second half, but without too much to show for it, in terms of chances, as Debjit Majumder had very little to do over the 90 minutes of this ISL match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi.
There were a couple of half chances here and there, but Taylor's decision to leave out his creative players – only Watt came on in the final 20 minutes, with Mohammed Rafi and Josu staying on the bench, for tactical or injury reasons it wasn't clear – did not bear fruition.
Mumbai City, whose player-manager Nicolas Anelka decided to stick to just his coaching duties, probably deserved to go away with three points, if either team had to, and they nearly did as well, as substitute Frederic Piquionne struck the base of the post seven minutes from time, after some good work from Sony Norde, who also had a shot go wide late on.