Kerala golden boy CK Vineeth’s brightest flashes

#13 may adorn his jersey but for the teams that placed their faith in him, it has brought anything but bad luck. Chekiyot Kizhakkeveettill Vineeth has done well for himself and those around him when it comes to firing a football into the net, be it his first professional goal for Chirag United Kerala during his 2010 debut or his winning strike against FC Pune City this past February.

As he turns 30, the new father’s list of achievements far outnumbers his years. We take a look at some of the most memorable moments of his Hero Indian Super League (ISL) career so far.

2016: Kerala Blasters FC vs Chennaiyin FC

Whilst still part of Bengaluru FC’s Hero I-League and AFC Cup efforts, Vineeth began his 2016 ISL season for Kerala Blasters in his second year on loan to the Yellow Army. The Blasters were a goal down and running behind Chennaiyin FC, until substitute Didier Kadio equalised the score. Vineeth then took centre stage and went on to finish a remarkable comeback for his new squad with a brace in front of an awe-struck Kochi crowd estimated at over 50,000 in strength. Similar performances during the remainder of the season saw the team through to the finals.

2017-18: Kerala Blasters FC vs FC Pune City

Now in his third season with the Blasters, Vineeth and his squad were playing against FC Pune City on the latter’s home turf. After the first half ended in a stalemate, Jackichand Singh opened the score for the visitors but that was soon balanced out by Pune’s Emiliano Alfaro. As the game ran into added time, Vineeth nailed the winning shot for the Blasters. With three valuable points in the bag, head coach and former Liverpool FC goalkeeper David James simply summed up Vineeth’s goal as “special”.

2017-18: Kerala Blasters FC vs Chennaiyin FC

Sometimes, stopping the bleeding feels like a win. Such was the case when Kerala Blasters went to Chennai to face perennial rivals Chennaiyin FC. Jackichand missed a chance by sending it over the post and half-time rolled around without a goal from either side. However, the final five minutes of the match saw the action get compounded in a hurry.

After Kerala’s Sandesh Jhingan was deemed to have handled the ball, Chennaiyin’s Slovenian midfielder Rene Mihelič converted a penalty to open the score for the home side in the 89th minute. This must have fired up Jhingan for, three minutes into added time, he delivered a masterful cross to Vineeth, who sent it home and salvaged a precious point for the Blasters.

2017-18: Kerala Blasters FC vs NorthEast United FC

‘Third time’s the charm,’ goes the saying. For CK Vineeth, however, his third season with Kerala Blasters did not quite fire off on all cylinders. He did manage to finish the season as the second-highest scorer on the team though with four goals from 14 matches. And one of those games saw the team break its season-long duck until that point.

NorthEast United travelled down south to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi to face the Blasters. Willed on by rambunctious fans, both sides played with fervour with chances and saves galore. Not wanting to waste any time, Vineeth flicked a cross from Rino Anto into the net and secured the winning goal for his side early on. Following that, inspite of an admirable fightback from the Highlanders, the scored stayed at 1-0, and Kerala ensured its first triumph of the season.

With the wealth of experience that Kerala’s golden boy possesses, we are sure to see many more breath-taking moments from him in the seasons to come.

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