Journalist and friend of Desiballers Dev Trehan caught up with Kerala Blasters striker Michael Chopra ahead of their next game with Mumbai City, which takes place on Friday. You can follow Dev on twitter by clicking here
MICHAEL CHOPRA admits he is desperate to open his account in front of goal with Kerala Blasters.
The former Newcastle and Sunderland striker rejoined Kerala for the third edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) and was handed his first start of the season by manager Steve Coppell in Sunday’s goalless draw against Delhi Dynamos.
Chopra almost won the Blasters the 2014 ISL only to be denied seven minutes from time in the final by a magnificent save by then-Atletico Kolkata goalkeeper Edel Bete.
Kolkata went on to lift the trophy courtesy of Mohammad Rafique’s dramatic added-time headed winner.
Chopra had the best opportunity of last weekend’s 0-0 draw against the Dynamos but his goal bound effort was diverted wide by Delhi’s Spanish stopper Toni Doblas.
“I don’t know how he saved it,” Chopra told Desiballers ahead of Kerala’s game with Mumbai City on Friday.
“It’s always the same isn’t it? Two years ago the keeper pulls off a great save to deny me (in the final) and the goalkeeper did the same again on Sunday.
“I thought I’d done everything right. I hit it with power, close to his legs so it’s harder for him to get down and I’ve hit across him in the event that if he’d have saved it somebody might have tapped it in.
“But you have to give the goalkeeper credit, he’s made a great save but I just can’t wait for that first goal to go in.”
Chopra, whose last full match came in Alloa Athletic’s 1-0 loss to Hibernian in the Scottish Championship last season, ended Sunday’s clash with the captain’s armband after regular skipper Cedric Hengbart was substituted in the second half.
He added: “I was saying to the lads it’s the first time I have played 90 minutes since December last year because of injuries and things like that.
“The more minutes I get, the fitter I’ll get and that will give me more confidence.”
Meanwhile, Desiballers sources understand that fellow British Asian baller Samir Nabi is still some way off making his debut for Delhi Dynamos.
The ex-West Brom midfielder signed for the Dynamos in September and featured during their pre-season matches in England and Sweden, making his debut against his former side at the Hawthorns.
But Nabi was not part of the squad for Delhi’s first two ISL matches after being unable to join up with his new team due to visa issues.
Brother Adil, currently at Championship side Peterborough United, endured similar problems when making a temporary switch to Delhi from West Brom last season and only arrived in India the day before their 2015 opener in Goa.