Kochi, July 28 (IANS) La Liga side Girona FC put up up yet another clinical performance to thrash Kerala Blasters FC 5-0 and lift the Toyota Yaris LaLiga World trophy here on Saturday.
Kerala resisted Girona’s attack in the first half, conceding only once but the Spanish side came out all guns blazing in the second half to run away with the title.
Kerala, who lost to Melbourne City by a huge margin on Thursday, looked a much-improved side, starting the final fixture with a 4-4-2 formation. The home team tightened its defence with their wingers sitting deep.
On the other hand, Girona’s strategy was no different from the first game as they looked to attack right from the word go.
The home side managed to hold fort till the half-hour mark, making all the necessary interceptions and keeping Girona forwards at bay.
The Spanish side kept pressing with more possession through the first half, but the defensive formation worked well for David James’ side.
With just three minutes before half time, a rare defensive lapse by the Kerala backline led to Eric Montes scoring the first goal of the match against the run of play. The Spanish right back made a run down the right to find the back of the net from a very tight angle. The first half ended with 1-0 in favour of Girona FC.
The second half of the game saw home team start with three men at the back with Mohammad Rakip and Prasanth K operating as wing-backs.
Girona FC’s midfield kept improving as they played some spectacular one touch football for creating chances.
The constant attacking football finally paid off for the LaLiga side as a miscommunication between the Blasters goalkeeper Naveen Kumar and defense saw Girona winger Pedro Porro easily push one into the open net to make it 2-0 in the 53rd minute.
Four minutes later, Girona skipper Alex Granell scored the third goal of the match as Yhoan Many made a superb run down the left to go past Prasanth and cut one in to his unmarked skipper who made no mistake in putting the ball behind the Kerala goalkeeper.
The Kerala defence that had a firm command on the game in the first half, was nowhere close to their best in the second. The Blasters kept losing possession in the midfield that led to Girona making the counter runs and unsettling the Kerala defence at regular intervals of the second half.
Though in the 61st minute an impressive free-kick from Blasters’ Ghanaian import Courage Pekuson almost gave Kerala their first goal if not for the briliiant save from Girona’s goalkeeper.
It was business as usual then as Aday Benitez’s left footer takes Blasters’ defenders deflection to find the back of the net in the 73rd minute. Kerala goalkeeper could hardly do anything with the slight deflection.
To add to the home team’s woes, Blasters conceded a penalty in the added time. Aleix Garcia smartly placed the ball into the bottom right corner as the match ended with a score line of 5-0.
The tournament surely helped all the three participating sides to find their right combinations and work on their plans as the upcoming season beckons them.
The Man of the match was awarded to Pedro Porro for his brilliant gameplay in the wings, whereas the Man of the Tournament was awarded to Girona captain Granell who stood like a rock for his team at the back, and managed to keep two clean sheets in two matches.