Jubilant Kerala Blasters fans paint Kochi yellow

Many of the fans missed the Blasters coach, Ivan Vukomanovic, who is facing a 10-match suspension for leading his players off the pitch during the controversial match against Bengaluru FC last season.
Kerala Blasters fans cheering their team’s victory against Bengaluru FC (2-1) at JLN Stadium on Thursday. (Photo| A Sanesh)
Kerala Blasters fans cheering their team’s victory against Bengaluru FC (2-1) at JLN Stadium on Thursday. (Photo| A Sanesh)

KOCHI: A sea of yellow washed into an ocean of gold, as waves of cheering fans built up the fever pitch. The passion at the Jawaharlal International Stadium, which came alive on Thursday, was palpable as home favourites, the Kerala Blasters, saw off rivals Bengaluru FC 2-1 in the inaugural match of the 10th edition of the Indian Super League (ISL).

The stadium resonated with the echoes of ‘Blasters’. This seemed to have rubbed off on players, who played with fire in their bellies from the very start. It was indeed sweet revenge for the Kochi-based team, as it was Bengaluru who had shattered their dreams with a controversial goal in a pivotal match last season.

“It was on the same ground. We lost our match in a controversial match against Bengaluru FC. This time we started the tournament by defeating the same team. It’s sweet revenge. This team is capable of lifting the cup this season,” said Badhusha Ibrahim, a fan from Perumbavoor.

An error-prone Bengaluru made matters easy for Blasters, who got on the score sheet with an own goal by Dutch defender Keziah Veendrop. Blasters captain Luna added a second, making the most of an error by goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

Kerala Blasters captain Adrian Nicolas Luna celebrating his goal against Bengaluru FC in the opening match of the 10th edition of the Indian Super League in Kochi on Thursday.
Kerala Blasters captain Adrian Nicolas Luna celebrating his goal against Bengaluru FC in the opening match of the 10th edition of the Indian Super League in Kochi on Thursday.

“I want the Blasters to win the cup this time. Being part of the ‘yellow army’ is exciting. In my opinion, Bengaluru FC, FC Goa, Mohun Bagan Super Giant, and Mumbai City FC are strong contenders. I would also like to watch Sahal in the Mohun Bagan jersey,” said Aadhil Noshin of Sulan Bathery.

However, many of the fans missed the Blasters coach, Ivan Vukomanovic, who is facing a 10-match suspension for leading his players off the pitch during the controversial match against Bengaluru FC last season.

“Even though Ivan was not with the team, the stadium reverberated with the sounds of ‘Ivan’ ‘Ivan’. The team may not have reached such heights if not for him. We are missing him a lot,” said Athul, a Ponekkara native who came with his six friends.

Though the gallery was painted yellow, a few Bengaluru fans were also seen at the match. “This is the fifth time I have been here to watch the match against the Blasters. I like the fans of the Blasters and Kochi, too. I have no fear of being in the middle of Blasters fans. However, this time we will lift the cup,” said Anand Anbumani from RT Nagar, Bengaluru.

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