Blasters face Melbourne City in Kochi tourney opener (Preview)

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Kochi, July 23 (IANS) Local favourites Kerala Blasters FC will take on A-League outfit Melbourne City FC in the opening match of the Toyota Yaris LaLiga World football tournament here on Tuesday.

The three-team pre-season tournament also features Spanish top division side Girona FC who will play their first game on July 27 against Melbourne City FC.

“We will be facing a side that will be playing in front of their home crowd, I am expecting them to come hard at us. The team has had a good couple of days of training and I would like to applaud the facilities here in Kochi which are truly up to the international standards,” Melbourne City FC head coach Warren Joyce said on Monday.

With 43 points, Melbourne City FC finished third in the last A-League season.

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“We are coming here on the back of a fantastic last season and all the players want to have a good start to the current season without any injuries. All players from our present squad are expected to take the ground and have some playing minutes under their belt. The tournament will be a good learning curve for all the young players who have joined the squad this season,” Joyce said.

After finishing sixth in the 2017-18 season of the Indian Super League (ISL), Kerala Blasters FC will aim to use this opportunity to regroup their team ahead of their fifth season.

“We have a squad that is hungry and determined to perform at their best against two very high-quality opposition. The Toyota Yaris LaLiga World gives us an exposure to analyze ourselves against international opponents who have been seasoned performers in their respective leagues,” Kerala Blasters coach David James said.

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The Englishman added that these matches will be a perfect platform for new additions to the Kerala Blasters squad.

“This tournament will be a perfect platform for the boys to regroup and have some playing time before the ISL season starts. Our squad is looking forward to a good match tomorrow against Melbourne City FC,” James stated.



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