Riley McGree scored twice as Melbourne City FC thrashed Kerala Blasters 6-0 in the opening match of the LaLiga World pre-season tournament in Kochi on Tuesday. Young goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, who was making his debut for the franchise, had to toil hard as the Australian A-League’s side started with their attack from the very beginning at the half-filled Nehru Stadium.
It rained goals as Riley McGree (33′ and 56′), Dario Vidosic (30′), Bruno Fornaroli (79′), Ramy Najjarine (75′) and Lachlan Wales (50′) all registered their names on the scoresheet.
Dheeraj, who was one of the standout performers for the India U-17s at the FIFA U-17 World Cup last year, was put under some serious pressure during the course of the entire game. Vidosic scored the opening goal in the 30th minute of the game as he sneaked a well-timed header into the bottom right corner of the net. Four minutes later, McGree doubled the lead. However, Dheeraj then made some brilliant saves and kept the scoreline at 0-2 till the half time.
However, just nine minutes after the 45-minute mark, McGree again scored and from there on, there was no backing from the Australian team as they gave no chances to the ISL franchise to stage a comeback and kept on scoring goals at regular intervals.
“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,” he added.
Spanish club Girona FC, the third team in the tournament, will play their first game on Friday against Melbourne City FC.
(With PTI inputs)