Kerala Blasters FC extend their unbeaten run as they beat Odisha FC 2-0

Kerala Blasters FC returned to the top of the table as they secured a comfortable 2-0 win over Odisha FC in their Hero Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco, Goa on Wednesday.

The match got off to a slow start but Kerala Blasters FC established a foothold as the game progressed. Nishu Kumar (28’) and Harmanjot Khabra (40’), KBFC’s left and right-back respectively, scored for them.

Kerala Blasters FC came close to scoring a goal in the 6th minute when Adrian Luna and Alvaro Vazquez displayed some fancy footwork on the left flank and threaded a through ball for Sahal Abdul Samad. Unfortunately for them, the Odisha FC keeper Arshdeep Singh got to the ball first and cleared the danger.

The Juggernauts missed a chance to go in front in the 26th minute when Javi Hernandez fired a brilliant pass from the right flank into the box. The subsequent shot was denied by the goalkeeper.

Just before the water break, Kerala Blasters FC broke the deadlock. The goal came when Kumar cut inside onto his right foot and rifled the ball into the top corner. The 24-year-old, who was returning to the starting eleven after quite a while, showed no signs of rustiness.  

Odisha FC then had a chance to equalize when Javi's free-kick was met by Hector Rodas. However, the header was gathered comfortably by Prabhsukhan Singh Gill. Five minutes before the interval, though, it was Ivan Vukomanovic's boys who doubled their lead. Veteran defender Khabra found space in the near-post channel and flicked the ball past Arshdeep.

Kerala Blasters FC began the second half with similar attacking vigour and created a chance in the 49th minute when Luna delivered the ball into the box from the left flank. Jorge Pereyra Diaz, however, failed to convert the opportunity.

Odisha FC’s first glimpse of goal in the second half came in the 54th minute when Nandhakumar Sekar floated a deep cross. Jerry Mawihmingthanga threw himself at the ball but the shot was blocked by a Kerala Blasters FC defender.

Kiko Ramirez’s men kept on attacking in the second half and Jonathas Cristian almost pulled one back in the 63rd minute, although Gill was again on hand to keep his clean sheet intact. Odisha FC continued to push but couldn’t make it work in the final third as Kerala Blasters FC held on for a 2-0 victory.

The three points take Kerala Blasters FC back to the top of the table – a point ahead of Jamshedpur FC. Odisha FC, on the other hand, remain eighth with 13 points. Vukomanovic’s men return to action on Sunday when they take on Mumbai City FC. Odisha FC’s next assignment is against NorthEast United FC on Tuesday.

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