Kerala Blasters FC beat FC Pune City 2-1 for first ISL win

Penn Orji

Kerala Blasters FC picked up their first victory of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) with a phenomenal 2-1 away win over FC Pune City. David Trezeguet opened the scoring in the 15th minute, but a spirited Kerala team earned a comeback win. CS Sabeeth scored four minutes before halftime, before substitute Penn Orji completed the turnaround with a 65th minute strike.

The match started aggressively with both teams picking up a booking in the opening three minutes. Kerala took control in the beginning with assured passing in their midfield and Iain Hume serving as the fulcrum of their attack. But a moment of quick thinking from Pune brought about the first goal. Forward John Goossens took a quick free kick, delivering an excellent ball for Trezeguet to smash home a superb finish past David James.

Kerala pushed forward in search of an equaliser, continuing to control possession. Their pressure finally paid off in the 41st minute. Hume put in a delightful ball to Sabeeth, and though the striker's shot was well-blocked by defender Bruno Cirillo, he was on hand to turn in Cedric Hengbart's header from the resulting corner to level the score.

The pattern of the match was the same in the second half, with Kerala doing most of the attacking. Pune were on the back foot for long periods, and their rhythm was also disrupted by an injury to keeper Emanuele Belardi, although substitute Arindam Bhattacharya acquitted himself well in the face of sustained Kerala pressure. The visitors broke Pune's resistance, however, when Orji, who had come on as a substitute only three minutes earlier, ran onto Hume's cutback and drilled in a low strike to put Kerala in the lead for the first time in the ISL.

Despite seeing more of the ball as they looked for an equaliser of their own, Pune rarely threatened James' goal. Kerala ultimately saw out the game quite comfortably. The Blasters are now fifth in the league table with four points, leapfrogging Pune, who fall to sixth. 

Franco Colomba would have expected more from his team after their win over FC Goa, but their below-par run in the ISL continues. They will hope to put up an improved showing when they host NorthEast United FC on November 3. Kerala, meanwhile, will look to kick on from this impressive victory in their next game away to Mumbai City FC on November 2.

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