Impressive Kerala Blasters beat Odisha FC to record first win of the season

Kerala Blasters registered their first win of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) season as they beat Odisha FC 2-1 at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco, Goa on Sunday.

Both teams had a fair deal of chances but it was Vazquez (62’) and Prasanth Karuthadathkuni (85’) who made the decisive blows to clinch the points for Kerala Blasters before Nikhil Raj (90+4’) grabbed a consolation for Odisha FC.

Ivan Vukomanovic’s men started the game brightly, dominating possession and closing down Odisha FC every time they won the ball back.

Kiko Ramirez’s men who came into the game with a perfect record struggled to get a foothold in the game.

The Blasters though couldn’t create too many clear-cut chances despite bossing the game in the first 20 minutes and were almost made to pay for it five minutes later when Javi Hernandez who won Hero of the Month ahead of the match almost found the net from the half-way line as he tried to catch goalkeeper Albino Gomes out. The effort landed on the roof of the net as Gomes got off the hook.

Hernandez had two more chances to put his team ahead firstly when he received a pass on the edge of the area but fired over and later when he went through on goal much to the surprise of the Kerala Blasters defenders as the referee allowed the play to go on even as the linesman raised the flag for offside.

The flag caused confusion among players as Hernandez fired a half-hearted shot at goal which was kept out by Gomes. Odisha on the rebound couldn’t convert the chance.

The game was level at the break after a half that was dominated by the Blasters but the better chances had fallen Odisha FC’s way.

Ramirez replaced Isak Vanlalruatfela with Isaac Chhakchhuak for the second half but it was Blasters who created the first opening thanks to Sahal Abdul Samad who went on a typical mazy run that allowed him to find Adrian Luna in space who blazed his effort just over in the 50th minute.

The Blasters who continued to dominate the ball were eventually rewarded in the 62nd minute when Vazquez beat a disjointed offside trap by Odisha FC to run clear on goal, round the goalkeeper and finish in an empty net.

Vazquez then almost doubled the lead three minutes later but his shot from close range was saved with an outstretched leg by Kamaljit Singh as Odisha FC stayed in the match.

The Blasters lost goalkeeper Gomes to an injury in the 76th minute and was replaced by Prabhsukhan Gill but it didn’t affect Vukomanovic’s men who doubled the lead thanks largely to Luna who collected the ball in midfield and ran at the heart of the Odisha FC midfield before finding Prasanth with a through ball. The youngster smashed the ball past Kamaljit to make it 2-0 five minute from time.

Odisha FC pulled one back in the dying seconds of the game as Nikhil Raj havled the deficit but it was too little too late as Blasters secured the points.

The win lifted the Blasters to sixth place in the table while Odisha FC stayed in third spot.

Kerala Blasters face SC East Bengal next Sunday while Odisha FC take on NorthEast United in their next match on Friday.

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