Kalinga Super Cup: Kerala Blasters FC beat Shillong Lajong, Jamshedpur FC claim comeback win
Kerala Blasters FC and Jamshedpur FC kick start their Kalinga Super Cup campaigns with victories against Shillong Lajong FC and NorthEast United FC respectively.
Kerala Blasters FC dominated Shillong Lajong FC to kickstart their Kalinga Super Cup campaign with a 3-1 victory at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday.
The match featured a brilliant display from the Blasters, who outplayed their opponents from start to finish.
Ghanaian forward Kwame Peprah bagged a brace within the opening 30 minutes. Although Brazilian midfielder Renan Paulinho pulled one back from the spot, Mohammed Aimen sealed the deal for the Blasters by heading the ball home within a minute after the start of the second half.
Peprah has been in top form this season for the Blasters. Within the first 15 minutes of the match, Peprah calmly slotted the ball past the keeper to finish off an immaculate pass from Dimitrios Diamantakos that left the Shillong Lajong FC defence in shambles.
In the 27th minute, the Ghanaian chested the ball into an open net to double their lead.
The second goal brought some life into the losing team, and Shillong Lajong FC sprang into action, taking the game to the Kerala Blasters’ FC box. Kerala Blasters FC goalkeeper Sachin Suresh made a tackle on Abdou Karim Samb in the 29th minute inside the box, giving them a chance to get back in the game. Captain Paulinho converted from the spot to finish the half 2-1.
As the second half began, 20-year-old Mohammed Aimen brilliantly headed Daisuke Sakai’s pinpoint cross in the 46th minute, scoring his first goal for Kerala Blasters FC, concluding the match 3-1.
Steve Ambri leads Jamshedpur FC to comeback win over NorthEast United FC
Jamshedpur FC staged a remarkable second-half fightback against NorthEast United FC to win the match 2-1 after finishing the first half with a one-goal deficit.
Spanish forward Nestor Albiach opened the scoring for the Highlanders, but Daniel Chima Chukwu and Steve Ambri each scored in the second half, giving Jamshedpur FC a memorable win.
NorthEast United FC started strong, with French midfielder Romain Philippoteaux driving into the opposition’s penalty box, putting the ball in a dangerous area. Captain Gaurav Bora managed to get a touch on the ball, only for the Jamshedpur FC custodian TP Rehenesh to prevent the ball from going in.
In the 17th minute of the match, Philippoteaux linked up with Albiach to penetrate through the Jamshedpur FC defence, leading to Albiach finding the back of the net, giving NorthEast United FC their well-deserved lead.
Entering the second half with a goal deficit, Jamshedpur FC came out all guns blazing. The Men of Steel completely took charge of the game after the restart. Ambri rattled the crossbar in the 61st minute of the game.
In the 68th minute, Chima poached onto a cross from Ambri to equalise and bring the two teams on level terms.
Within four minutes, Chima attempted an acrobatic effort but failed to bring it to fruition. Ambri, who set up Jamshedpur FC’s equaliser, scored the winner in the dying minutes of the match, concluding the fixture 2-1 in favour of the Men of Steel.
The goal was a result of an exceptional Jérémy Manzorro through ball. All Ambri had to do was beat the goalkeeper and calmly put the ball in the back of the net.
The four teams get back in action on 15th January, with the Highlanders taking on Shillong Lajong FC in the first match of the day. Kerala Blasters FC will lock horns with Jamshedpur FC in the following match.