Australian club Melbourne City would join La Liga side Girona and Indian Super League club Kerala Blasters in a pre-season tournament to be hosted at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi. Melbourne City FC finished third in A-league while Girona were placed 10th in La Liga last season.
Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters would play pre-season friendlies against La Liga club Girona FC and A-League side Melbourne City at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi from July 24-28. Melbourne City FC, who finished third and qualified for the final round under the tutelage of head coach Warren Joyce in the recently concluded A-League, would be a tough opponent for Blasters. Whereas, Girona, who plies their trade in the Spanish top-flight, made headlines when they defeated current European Champions Real Madrid at the Estadi Montilivi in La Liga and it was Spanish football legend Fernando Morientes unveiled the tournament trophy.
"Pre-season tournaments are the best preparatory ground for a club to prepare for the season ahead. I remember how playing pre-season friendlies helped me identify the areas that I needed to work upon and be better prepared. I wish all the very best to all participating teams and am looking forward to a closely-contested tournament," On behalf of La Liga Morientes said as quoted by Goal.com.
Varun Tripuraneni, CEO, Kerala Blasters FC said," This will be a perfect start to our pre-season preparations as we play against two international clubs of great repute. It will be
Blasters would be the second Indian club to play against a top-tier European club after Delhi Dynamos. The Delhi based franchise had played a friendly against Premier League club West Bromwich Albion in 2016. The David James-coached club endured a disappointing end to the 2017/18 ISL season, finishing out of the knockout spots in sixth.
Blasters have been active in the transfer market ahead of the 2018-19 season and have already roped in Keralite and Indian national team defender Anas Edathodika to cement their backline. Abdul Hakku and Zakeer Mundampara are the other Keralites to join the revamped squad and they also signed goalkeepers Dheeraj Singh and Naveen Kumar to replace the departing Paul Rachubka and Subhashish Roy Chowdhury. In attack, they have roped in India internationals Halicharan Narzary and Seimenlen Doungel. Girona had qualified for the La Liga last season for the very first time in their 87-year-old history. In their maiden season, they finished 10th in the league.
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